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Flash 8 to begin shipping next month

Macromedia says the software offers improvements for authoring Web video and content for mobile devices.

Macromedia on Monday announced details about its Flash Professional 8 software and said it expects to begin shipping the tool sometime next month.

The company says the software's new Flash video encoder will deliver some of the industry's highest-quality video at the smallest file sizes. A new plug-in will allow video editors to export creative work directly for the Web in Flash Video format, which is "playerless" and embedded directly in Web pages.

As previously reported, analysts have touted the new tool, released in beta form in July, for those Web video capabilities. They said the software could give Microsoft's Windows Media technology, RealNetworks' Real format and Apple Computer's QuickTime format a run for their money.

The software also includes tools for developers who want to create animation, text and video for mobile devices. Emulators within the software will allow developers to test content on an array of mobile technologies before deploying it.

Flash Professional 8 is part of a suite of software called Macromedia Studio 8, which includes several other authoring tools, including Dreamweaver and Fireworks.

The Flash authoring software will cost $699 for a full commercial license and $299 for an upgrade. A basic version, meant for simple-motion graphics and animation, will cost $399.

CNET's Paul Festa contributed to this report.