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Adobe set to test new Flash Player

Company plans to launch a beta test of Astro, the code name for the latest version of its Flash Player software.

Adobe on Thursday is expected to launch a beta test program for the latest version of its Flash Player software.

Flash Player 10, developed under the code name Astro, includes better support for 3D animation and video hardware acceleration, among other improvements.

Adobe said that Flash Player 10 will now support custom visual effects, created with Adobe's free Pixel Bender tools. Developers can write code to create effects that can be rendered by Flash Player at runtime.

Developers can also now target code to render through graphics processors, speeding up performance and freeing CPU bandwidth, Adobe says.

The beta version of Flash Player 10 will be available from Adobe's Labs site.

Flash Player 10 will run on Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows 2000, Mac OS X and Linux.

Adobe said that some of the new features in Flash Player 10 will ultimately be incorporated into a future release of Adobe AIR and the Open Screen Project, Adobe's movement to create industry consensus around Flash-based technologies for mobile devices.