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InfoQ Homepage News Beta Versions of Flash Player 10.1 and AIR 2.0 Released

Beta Versions of Flash Player 10.1 and AIR 2.0 Released

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Adobe Systems has announced the availability of beta versions of Flash Player 10.1 and AIR 2.0, which can be downloaded from the Adobe Labs site.

Flash Player 10.1
The minor increment in the version number, from the currently available Flash Player 10, may be misleading, as the release signifies Adobe’s first major step in their push to bring the ubiquity the Flash platform enjoys on the desktop to smart phones, netbooks, and other devices. In the time since the Open Screen project was announced in 2008, Adobe has shifted much of their focus around the Flash Player to making improvements that will make the runtime usable on mobile platforms. Adobe’s David Wadhwani shared the following on the release:

With the beta availability of Adobe AIR 2 and Flash Player 10.1 today, we are taking an important step toward realizing the Open Screen Project vision to enable rich Internet experiences across any device, anywhere.

This beta is only available for PC’s, with release to come in the future that will bring version 10.1 of the player to numerous mobile devices and netbooks. Much of the work to make the runtime viable on mobile devices and netbooks has been around improving both memory consumption and CPU usage.

As we move into technologies with very limited memory and processing resources, Flash Player had to become as optimized as possible to get out of the way of your content. We reduced its memory allocations and found innovative ways of sharing memory and taking advantage of specialized hardware whenever possible—all with the goal of giving your content the most memory and processor availability we can. Your content may have been optimized with a desktop computer in mind, but we will do all we can to overcome the technology gap and run your app as close to desktop quality as we can.

In addition to improving the overall footprint of the player, a number of other updates have been included in the release:

  • Global error handling: The most requested feature by those developing applications for the Flash runtime is a mechanism for global error handing. The release promises to bring that to developers, but will only be available in AIR for this initial beta of 10.1.
  • Stream enhancements: The updated player will allow for streaming over HTTP, and includes a number of updates to improve things like the buffering experience.
  • Microphone access: Flash Player 10.1 will allow developers access to rich audio data from the microphone, which has only been available from MP3 files to this point. Once again, this will only be in AIR for the initial release.
  • User interaction: The release includes the first steps towards Flash providing support for both multi-touch and gestures that users are becoming accustomed to with devices like the iPhone.
  • Content protection: The new version of the player will allow for protecting content on Windows, Mac OS, and Linux with Adobe Flash Access 2.

Please refer to Justin Everett-Church’s article on the Adobe Developer Center for more detailed information on the Flash Player 10.1 features.

AIR 2.0
In addition to all of the new Flash Player features that are available on the desktop within the AIR runtime, the AIR 2.0 release includes a number of updates for those developing desktop applications. Adobe’s Rob Christensen provides an overview of what’s new in AIR 2.0:

As a team, one of our stated goals for AIR 2 from the beginning was to add capabilities to the runtime that would enable new classes of applications to be built that were simply not possible with AIR 1.


As the definition of AIR 2 evolved, it became clear that we would focus our efforts on the following themes: providing deeper integration with the operating system, making developers more productive, and improving performance.

AIR 2.0 major feature updates include:

  • Mass Storage Detection: This allows developers to detect when storage devices, like USB drives, are connected to the computer.
  • Native Process API: Adobe has taken a major step towards providing support for native integration while trying to still walk the line on cross-platform promise.
  • Networking Updates: The release includes a number of network updates long requested by the AIR development community, including UDP support, socket support, and others.

Please refer to Rob Christensen’s article on the Adobe Developer Center for more detailed information on the new AIR 2.0 features.

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