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Android tablets to get Flash 'within a few weeks' of Honeycomb launch

Adobe has confirmed rumours that the Motorola Xoom tablet will ship without Flash, but it's also promised that its software will be available within weeks of the device's launch.

Adobe has confirmed that the Motorola Xoom tablet will launch without Flash Player 10.2, but promised to make the software available within weeks of the device's release, as an over-the-air download.

The company was responding to speculation about the Xoom's lack of Flash, after US operator Verizon Wireless said on its marketing site for the device that Flash support was not expected until 'spring 2011'. The Xoom goes on sale in the US this week, although it's not expected to come to the UK for a couple of months.

"Adobe will offer Flash Player 10.2 pre-installed on some tablets and as an OTA download on others within a few weeks of Android 3 (Honeycomb) devices becoming available, the first of which is expected to be the Motorola Xoom," wrote Adobe's Matt Rozen on the official Flash blog.

"Consumers are clearly asking for Flash support on tablet devices and the good news is that they won't have to wait long. We are aware of over 50 tablets that will ship in 2011 supporting a full Web experience (including Flash support) and Xoom users will be among the first to enjoy this benefit," he continued.

Why is Flash such a big deal for Android tablets? Well, firstly, it's one of the key advantages these devices have over Apple's iPad, and, secondly, never underestimate the demand for playing CityVille on the sofa without having to fire up a laptop. Seriously.

Adobe's long-running spat with Apple and its chief executive, Steve Jobs, has led to Flash being kept out of iOS devices. In February last year, Jobs reportedly called Flash a "CPU hog" that was full of "security holes". Jobs also said that websites would move to the HTML5 technology instead.

Android tablets are one of Adobe's key weapons in its bid to try and prove Jobs wrong, so getting Flash Player 10.2 on the first batch of Honeycomb devices as quickly as possible will be important for the company.