The new version is the first major revision of the software since Macromedia introduced Flash MX last year, along with a dramatically expanded concept of the utility of Flash. Instead of pushing Flash as an animation format to serve up blinking and moving online ads, Macromedia repositioned the format as a broad base for developing entire Web pages and delivering Web applications.

The new version of the Flash Player, available for download from Macromedia, concentrates on performance improvements that allow the software to process some types of Flash content as much as 10 times faster, said Lucian Beebe, Macromedia's product manager for Flash.

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