Announcing Flash Player 11 and AIR 3

Today, we’re excited to announce that Adobe Flash Player 11 and AIR 3 will be launching in early October. These milestone releases introduce the next generation of the technologies that deliver stunning content and apps to over a billion people — across screens including Android, iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry PlayBook, Windows, Mac, and connected TV devices — pushing the boundaries of what’s possible on the web.

Flash Player 11 and AIR 3 take these even further by introducing Stage 3D, a new architecture for hardware accelerated graphics rendering that delivers 1000x faster rendering performance over Flash Player 10. It enables new classes of console-quality games and immersive apps, such as Tanki Online and Zombie Tycoon (see videos below). Stage 3D enables content that efficiently animate millions of objects on screen, smoothly rendered at 60 frames per second — the result is fluid, cinematic app and game experiences. Additionally, these releases deliver new features to support theater-quality HD video, native 64-bit optimizations, high-quality HD video conferencing, and a powerful, flexible architecture for leveraging native device and platform capabilities. We’re turning the dial up.


Building Blocks

Flash began with a few bits of colored plastic, inspired by experiences of playing with LEGOs as kids. Over 15 years, Flash has provided some of the most creative building blocks for designers and developers, pushing innovation and helping the web to evolve and iterate at a rapid pace defined by creativity. Flash made fluid animation an integral part of the web, defining our modern expectations for smooth, animated user interfaces. And since then, Flash has made features such as rich typography, beautiful interfaces leveraging dynamic vector and raster graphics, dynamic synchronized audio playback, advanced scripting, and seamless HD video mainstream — not just as experiments waiting to reach the world, but capabilities accessible to virtually every connected computer on the Internet. Many of the capabilities that Flash pioneered have over time moved into web standards and browsers, and will continue to do so as Adobe works closely with the web standards community and continues to develop products that support and advance HTML5. Piece by piece, Flash has enhanced and upgraded what’s possible for over a billion people on web, and Flash Player 11 and AIR 3 continue that tradition.

The Next-Generation Console Has Arrived

Today, approximately 70% of web games are powered by Flash, along with 9 of the top 10 games on Facebook, about 70% of the games on Google+, and the top social games from companies like Zynga and EA. Games at their best are fluid, immersive experiences, and the unmatched consistency of Flash Player allows game developers to focus on making great games rather than fight fragmented technology. Games just play. And play big: Flash Player brings an audience over 11 times larger than that of the best-selling current generation game console.

Flash Player 11 is the next-generation console for the web: now with Stage 3D (codenamed “Molehill”), it provides a consistent platform for gorgeous games and rich engaging content — hundreds of millions of users will be able to instantly upgrade to a whole new level of games on the web with a simple update, ready to experience amazing games using Stage 3D when they come to market later this year and early 2012. With stunning hardware accelerated graphics, mature dynamic audio, immersive full screen, native support for mouse/multi-touch/camera input, low-latency peer-to-peer multiplayer networking, full HD 1080p video playback, and high-quality voice chat, Flash Player provides the building blocks for incredible games.

Everyone wins. Content using the new Stage 3D APIs will automatically take advantage of modern GPU hardware, from integrated graphics chips to the most advanced high-end graphics cards, to provide incredibly fluid graphics — and Stage 3D also provides accelerated software rendering for content on older computers (yep, even mom’s old PC with Windows XP), where it runs up to 2-10x faster than software rendering in Flash Player 10. In other words, all computers with Flash Player 11 can benefit from the accelerated performance of Stage 3D. And game publishers can also package their Flash technology-based apps using AIR to deliver them across Android, iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry PlayBook, Windows, Mac, and connected TV devices. To learn about some of the benefits of the Flash Platform for game publishers, check out the new Adobe Gaming Solutions page at

Hear more about the Stage 3D accelerated graphics architecture from the Flash Runtime team:

Adoption of new Flash Player releases has been accelerating — nearly half of the web upgrades Flash Player within four weeks of a new release — so websites can expect that many of the over 1 billion people with Flash Player will be able to reap the benefits of Stage 3D soon, bringing modern GPU hardware acceleration to more people on the web than any other technology. The efficient Stage 3D architecture was designed from the ground up with resource-constrained mobile devices in mind — the full, optimized rendering model will be supported on smartphones and tablets as well, and we’re making this support available in a private prerelease.

Combined with high-level graphics frameworks built on Stage 3D, including a range of specialized, optimized third-party graphics frameworks and game engines, Flash Player 11 and AIR 3 make incredible graphics performance everywhere accessible to a range of developers, whether they’re building rich 3D visualization apps or sophisticated, expressive games. Some of these great frameworks include Alternativa 3D, Away 3D, Flare 3D, Minko, and Yogurt 3D. Adobe will also soon make a 3D framework technology preview called Proscenium available on Adobe Labs. Proscenium will allow developers using Flash Builder to rapidly prototype experiences focused on simple content interaction and display, whether for simple games, visualization, or high-quality rendering of small object collections.

And we’re especially delighted to announce Starling, a flexible, lightweight framework for 2D graphics and animation that combines the simplicity of Flash with the incredible power of modern hardware accelerated graphics provided by Stage 3D. The Starling Framework is a free and open source ActionScript library designed to be instantly familiar to developers and designers using the traditional Flash display list. Starling and Stage 3D in Flash Player 11 and AIR 3 enable easy intuitive GPU-accelerated graphics programming for everyone. Beautiful is now simple.

Particle effects with Starling and Stage 3D in Flash Player 11:

Rolling Forward

We’ve seen lots of momentum with Flash Player and AIR, especially in these areas:

Gaming: Flash Player 11 and AIR 3 allow game publishers to instantly deliver engaging games to anyone with a PC, tablet, smartphone, or connected TV. And with Stage 3D, game publishers and developers can take their games to a new level, creating new opportunities for game developers and publishers to deliver and monetize their content. Two of the many upcoming games leveraging Stage 3D include Tanki Online and Ultimate Race Championship.

To experience a tablet game with Flash today, check out Machinarium, an award-winning puzzle and adventure game for the iPad 2 that within one day became the #1 game on iTunes in the U.S. and 12 other countries, #1 app overall, and “iPad Game of the Week” — and it’s coming soon for Android and BlackBerry PlayBook (play a demo right in your browser with Flash Player). Visit the Flash Game Technology Center to learn more about building games with Flash. And check out this short video on Machinarium and upcoming Stage 3D -enabled content

Rich media and premium video: Leading content providers, including Amazon, ESPN, HBO, Hulu, and YouTube, deliver premium HD live video and video on demand (VoD) using Flash technology to reach multiple screens, while benefiting from adaptive streaming, content protection, smooth hardware-accelerated HD video playback, and expanded audiences with Adobe Pass for TV Everywhere. Even the animals are in on it: the California Academy of Sciences uses Flash to share a waddle of cuteness with the Pocket Penguins app for Android and iPhone.

Data-driven apps: Flash enables highly interactive, collaborative applications across devices and distribution channels. Using Flash and AIR, the St. Petersburg Times delivered the PolitiFact app on the Apple App Store, Android Market, and BlackBerry App World — a #1 paid news app on iTunes.


Snapping Key Pieces in Place

Some of the other benefits coming with Flash Player 11 and AIR 3 include:

A fully modern architecture. Flash Player 11 delivers full native 64-bit support for 64-bit browsers on Linux, Mac OS, and Windows, while also leveraging advanced processor optimizations to deliver additional performance.

Uncompromised experiences everywhere. Native extensions in AIR 3 allow developers to take advantage of existing native code libraries and deep native hardware and OS capabilities, such as sensors (gyroscopes, magnetometers, light sensors, etc.), multiple screens, native in-app payments, haptic/vibration control, device status, and Near Field Communications (NFC).

Simple, instant app install. Developers can package their apps with AIR 3 as a captive runtime for one-click, seamless installs on Android, Windows, and Mac OS (in addition to iOS) without any additional runtime download.

And there are dozens more new capabilities in Flash Player 11 and AIR 3 that web and app developers will be able to take advantage of to create beautiful new experiences. Check out our press release and Labs release notes to see the complete list of what’s new, and we’ll be highlighting more of these features in the future (and even more at Adobe MAX). We look forward to delivering the release versions in early October, and if you want to get your hands on them now, you can download the release candidate versions from Adobe Labs today. With Flash Player 11 and AIR 3, we’re providing some amazing new building blocks. We’re thrilled to see what you create with them.

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46 thoughts on “Announcing Flash Player 11 and AIR 3

  1. Pingback: Andrew Trice » Blog Archive » Flash Player 11 & AIR 3

  2. Pingback: Flash Player 11, AIR 3, and Flex/Flash Builder 4.6 | Ryan Stewart – Mountaineer Coding

  3. Pingback: Adobe Poised To "Turn Up The Dial" With Flash Player 11 And Adobe Air 3 In Early October - Supports 3D Gaming, HD Video Conferencing And More

  4. Well it’s nearly been a full year since the molehill annoucements but from I have seen the wait has been worth it. Tom please pass on a big thanks to all the runtime team guys & girls especially the engineers who have managed to deliver molehill and the cross-platform deployment.

    • @James- Stage 3D for mobile platforms including Android, Apple iOS and BlackBerry Tablet OS will be available in an upcoming production release of Flash Player 11 and AIR 3 due in the first half of 2012.

  5. The Stage3D features will surely be an Added Value to Flash.

    On another note, I would hope AIR 3 is a big improvement to iOS/Android performances as mentioned through Native Extensions.
    Anxiously looking closely at that & curious to see how it would match Titanium’s appcelerator.

    Looking forward!!!!
    Adobe you are doing a hell of a Job!

  6. I hope we will now have support for native Number keyboard in iOS from Flash/Air 3. Loading the default keyboard to alpha’s doesn’t always make sense. 🙂

  7. This is Great Adobe!

    But, educate designers and developers in how to create flash that does not crash with clean RAM in mind.

    Educate in a easy way to the public in how:

    1. Create flash video with the right (width,height, fps, automatic convert old video to the new stageVideo) for PC, Tablets and Phones.

    2. Add new guide lines when create code… for better RAM and CPU.

    3. Add an easy way to create Global communications with classes… right now is a mess.

    4. Add plug-ins to flash from AE and Illustrator.

    5. Make flash smooth graphics on mobile/tablets (right now they flash looks no so good if the embed flash is not zoom out to the right width and height. Please enable SMOOTHING!

  8. On 2D support: Will we be able to author/keyframe animations (like is currently done in Flash) that will run entirely in a starling driven Stage3D layer? Or will all 2D content running in a Stage3D layer have to be created/animated in code? I’m just wondering if Flash will provide an authoring tool for creating 2D content running with GPU acceleration.

  9. From what I understand one of the enhancements with AIR 3 is the ability to include the run time with desktop or Android apps. Is there optimization so that the run time only contains needed functionality so that the resulting APK or iOS app has a smaller overhead than the normal 6-8mb ?

  10. Excellent! Thanks to all the guys working behind the screens. Adobe Flash team, you have done a great job!

    • @Chris Bizzell – Flash Builder and Flex, Adobe’s open source framework for building mobile, Web and desktop apps, will offer support for these new Flash Player 11 and AIR 3 features in an upcoming release before the end of the year.

  11. Thanks for the update! I’m assuming to use the features in Flash Builder, we need Flash Player 11? I can’t wait for Air 3 and Flash Player 11 to come out.

    • @Pat – Glad you’re excited about the updates to Flash Player and AIR. Yes, Flash Builder and Flex will offer support for these new Flash Player 11 and AIR 3 features in an upcoming release before the end of the year.

  12. This would have been a good place for you to call out that AIR on Linux is being canned, and that also Stage3D on that platform is never hardware accelerated.

    • @David- Flash Player 11 and AIR 3 will be released in early October. We’ll post info here once downloads are available!

  13. I noticed that when AIR 3 came out that my AIR apps asked me to update or “the programs might not function properly”. But the version of OS X I have can’t upgrade to AIR 3. Is there any plan to have that changed so older OS’s can access it, or is that not possible?

  14. Just installed it. Superb streaming improvement on my SU2300/Intel 4500GMA laptop. A site that needed 90% cpu (and so dropped frames) reduced to 60% and super smooth playback. Thank you guys!

  15. This is amazing, I’m currently doing sprite blitting and am not getting the performance I need.

    Will this be available in Flash Professional?
    If not, how hard is it to convert a FLA with library assets to Flash Builder? I’ll do it in a heartbeat!


  16. To: the Adobe team
    About: Flash Player 11

    Is Flash Player 11 really available?
    I have tried to download it several times, after being alerted to the necessity for this, but each time the installation bar stopped midway, and the installation remained incomplete.

  17. Question: I have upgraded to flashplayer11 from 10 now nothing!
    OS windows vista home premium bit32
    Help anybody?

  18. Hey!!!!

    We are really very Thankful to all the guys, working behind the screens. Adobe Flash team… you have done a really great job.
    Thank You

  19. I’ll see you all on the unemployment line. First Director 3d now Flash 3d is kaput! Your efforts are appreciated. It will probably be another 3 or 4 years before html5, CSS, Javascript are mature enough to produce similar results. Just look at Internet Explorer. We thought Explorer 7 was the solution, then 8, now 9 and it will probably be 11 or 12. Do we seriously consider Microsoft an innovator. Their current commercials are showcasing products similar to iMovie and AppleTV like they’re the second coming!

  20. Announced on Sep the 21 st…’s almost Christmas and no Adobe on any of the ab ove mentioned iDevices… Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you guys

  21. Will Unreal Engine 3 be supported natively by Flash 11? Or will the user have to download a browser plugin (like Unity requires) in order to take advantage of the features?

    I’ve been looking everywhere trying to find an answer to this in the Unreal Development doc and forums but haven’t heard anything.