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Adobe breaks sound barrier with Flash Player 10

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Sound is the new frontier for Flash as Adobe Systems released its first major update in three years today, packing in features missing from May's first beta.

Flash Player 10 will deliver sound file features that go someway towards giving developers working on audio the same powers of content creation and customization as video.

Adobe has added the ability to read audio files' binary data and directly access the sound buffer to add the sounds filters you really want.

The company said it's putting the creation and editing of audio content on a par with video, by giving creatives the power to build and edit sound files rather than use what's in the box.

"Developers hadn't been able to make sounds as dynamic as they could other parts of Flash," Adobe platform senior product manager Justin Everett-Church said.

The version of Flash Player 10 unveiled in May focused on customization in graphics. These features - delivered with today's release - included a Just In Time (JIT) engine to load pixel bytecode into the Player engine, so that users could create their own graphics and effects rendering filters, and Adobe Pixel Bender to let users build pixel files and filters.

Adobe cited feedback from the beta community for extending the customization features to audio. It's interesting, though, that Flash Player 10 comes as Microsoft increases the pressure on Adobe with its own media player - the browser plug-in Silverlight.

In what must surely qualify as an attempt to overshadow Flash Player 10, Microsoft announced Tuesday the release of its latest version of Silverlight - version 2.0.

Microsoft wrapped the Silverlight 2.0 news with the announcement it's funding a project at the open-source Eclipse Foundation to build open-source tools for Java. Also, Microsoft is releasing controls under its Open Source Initiative (OSI)-approved open-source license and releasing its XAML documentation under the company's Open-Specification Promise (OSP).

Everett-Church said it was important to respond to community requests for Flash 10 very quickly. "We want to keep them [developers] happy with our technology," he said.

He also took issue with Silverlight's cross-platform credentials, and Microsoft's attempts to rally the open-source community behind its player. He pointed to the fact that tools for Flash Player run on Windows and Mac - whereas Microsoft's tools are only on Windows.

Adobe is also a member of Eclipse, whereas Microsoft is providing tactical backing for only certain projects. ®

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