Adobe says Flash support for tablets based on Google's upcoming "Honeycomb" version of the Android operating system will be available "within a few weeks".
Honeycomb is the first version of Android designed for tablet PCs and is eagerly anticipated. Motorola's Xoom tablet will launch on Thursday as the first to run the software, but initial versions won't come with flash support. Verizon, which is putting it on sale, previously said Flash would be available in "spring 2011."
The vague time reference had people fearing Flash wouldn't be available until the end of the season, but a posting on Adobe's blog points to a slightly earlier release.
"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," wrote Matt Rozen.
Adobe said version 10.2 of its flash player will be offered as a download or preinstalled on some tablets launching later in 2011. Adobe has said that Flash Player 10.2 will offer users of dual-core tablets and smartphones HD Flash video and up to 30 frames per second video performance.
The blog posting appears to be aimed at a number of critics who have recently suggested it might put people off buying them. Daniel Ionescu at PC World, for example, noted the Motorola Xoom is seen by many as the first real rival to Apple's iPad, yet it may be a "hard sell" due to its hefty price tag and lack of Flash.
Support for Adobe Flash Player software is seen as a major advantage for rivals to Apple's iPad because Apple has eschewed the technology, which has found widespread use as a video streaming format.
Steve Jobs listed several reasons why Apple does not allow Flash on iPods, iPhones or iPads in a public posting last April, including a drain on battery life and that more modern offerings work better. Adobe defended itself by posting data of its own and taking out full page ads in major newspapers.
Adobe expects to see Flash installed on over 132 million devices by the end of this year, he added, saying the company had raised its estimates for 2011.