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 www.adobe.com/go/gaming.

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.

Don’t Miss ‘Flash Jeopardy’ at MAX 2011

We’re two weeks away from MAX 2011 and we’re excited to share that we’ll be hosting Flash Jeopardy this year. This is a follow on to last year’s popular MAX game, Are You Smarter Than a Flash Platform Evangelist?, where we pitted Flash community members against our evangelists.

Flash Jeopardy will be based on (you guessed it) Jeopardy and hosted by our own Ben Forta! Unlike last year, this is all about our developers and how much they know about Flash. We’re challenging four contestants to flex their Flash knowledge in a Jeopardy! style Q&A format, and who better to help us stump them than you!

We’re looking for any Flash-related questions and answers be it about tools/framework (i.e., Flash Builder, Flex, Flash Professional, etc.), runtimes (i.e., Flash Player and AIR) and/or what you can do with Flash for mobile development, gaming, etc. We welcome any and all questions – easy to hard! Submit your questions to fprocks@adobe.com with “Flash Jeopardy” in the subject line, and it could be featured in the game!

For those attending MAX in LA, be sure to save the date for the game show. Join us on Tuesday, Oct. 4 from 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. in the Community Pavilion at the Flash Rocks Entertainment Lounge for the Flash developer showdown! Hope to see you there.

 

Flash Support on Windows 8 and Metro

We expect Windows desktop to be extremely popular for years to come (including Windows 8 desktop) and that it will support Flash just fine, including rich web based games and premium videos that require Flash. In addition, we expect Flash based apps will come to Metro via Adobe AIR, much the way they are on Android, iOS and BlackBerry Tablet OS today, including the recent number one paid app for the iPad on the Apple App Store, Machinarium, which is built using Flash tools and deployed on the Web using Flash Player and through app stores as a standalone app.

Adobe is about enabling content publishers and developers to deliver the richest experiences for their users, independent of technology, including HTML5 and Flash. We are working closely with Microsoft, Google, Apple and others in the HTML community to drive innovation in HTML5, to make it as rich as possible for delivering world-class content on the open Web and through App Stores.

We are excited about the innovation and opportunities that are available to our customers and Adobe as the web and platforms evolve across devices, including Windows 8 and Metro.

UPDATED: 9/15/11

Flash-Based Machinarium Game is Now #1 iPad App, Delivered Using Adobe AIR

We’re very excited to announce that Machinarium, an award-winning, point-and-click adventure and puzzle game developed with Flash technology is now the #1 iPad app in all paid categories in the U.S. and 12 other countries after just one day! This popular app comes on the heels of other top rated, Flash-based apps on iTunes, Android Market and BlackBerry AppWorld like Politifact (#1 news app on iTunes, Top 100 app in all of iTunes), Dr Stanley’s House (#1 most popular gaming app on iTunes China) and apps from ESPN, Coca-Cola, Facebook, California Academy of Sciences and others.

Previously available as an in-browser game on desktops via Flash Player, Machinarium was ported as a Flash-based app for the iPad 2 and is coming to Android Market and BlackBerry AppWorld soon – all with the power of Adobe AIR. Machinarium is gaining traction worldwide as the top app in iOS App Stores in several other countries as well, and is also the iPad Game of the Week. The game was designed by Amanita Design in the Czech Republic and one of our gaming evangelists, Tom Krcha, has posted an interview on his blog with Machinarium designer and director, Jakub Dvorský. Check it out, and you can download the game here!

POST UPDATED: 9/10/11

Got Apps? Submit them for the Adobe AIR App Challenge, Sponsored by Sony

The Adobe AIR App Challenge, Sponsored by Sony, has taken off and there have already been some great AIR apps for Android Market submitted to run on the two new “Sony Tablet” Devices coming this fall. There’s still time to submit your killer apps so put your developer skills to the test!

If you submit working versions of your apps by Sept. 16, they could be selected as an Adobe MAX Showcase App and you could win a full conference pass, paid travel to MAX in LA (Oct. 1-5), qualify for the MAX Public Favorite vote prize of $10,000 plus additional prizes. All app or app project submissions are due by Oct. 10 in order to be selected as a Finalist. Submit your AIR apps for the App Challenge and you could win $200,000 in total cash prizes plus premium promotion on “Sony Tablet” devices.

For details and submissions, visit www.airappchallenge.com. To learn more, join us for a webinar on Sept. 1 by registering in advance. Here’s the fourth episode of a five-episode story arc, “Two will,” featuring Sony Tablet:

We’re also excited to announce the judges on board for the App Challenge. They’ll be reviewing apps submitted in the various categories (Entertainment, Lifestyle & Community, Games, Business & Productivity, and Innovation) and selecting the winners. Here they are…show ‘em what you’ve got and good luck!

Rob Ford, Founder and Principal, The FWA Network

Since establishing Favourite Website Awards in the UK in May 2000, Ford has been focused on showcasing digital innovation from pioneering creative individuals and agencies across the world. His hands-on approach has ensured that the best digital work of the last 11+ years always gets the exposure it deserves. He also oversees the other FWA showcase sites for mobile and photography and has two bestselling books under his belt. Prior to FWA, Rob worked for companies including Halifax PLC and American Express.

Jolie O’Dell, Journalist, VentureBeat

O’Dell brings 11 years of experience in journalism into her work in technology. As a daily writer for some of the most popular and influential technology blogs on the web, including ReadWriteWeb, Mashable, and VentureBeat, she has spent extensive time and research on the mobile and web development industry, focusing on startups as well as on the titans of the industry, such as Facebook and Google.

Michael Gough, Vice President of Experience Design, Adobe

Gough is the leader of Adobe’s Experience Design Team (XD), an internal design practice focusing on the next generation of digitally enabled experiences. A longtime advocate for quality in all digital experiences, he has been pushing the digital envelope for years. Previously, Gough was the Chief Creative Officer at Macromedia, Vice President of Brand Design at Nike, the Chief Creative Officer of Quokka Sports, and the Creative Director of Construct.

Ricky Liversidge, VP of Product Marketing, Media Solutions, Adobe

Liversidge is responsible for the definition and execution of Adobe’s Media Solutions strategy, covering Digital Publishing, Video Solutions as well as Mobile/Device partnering. During his 16 years at Adobe, he led the marketing efforts in North America, Asia, UK and Western Europe as well as product marketing for Adobe Acrobat. Prior to joining Adobe, Liversidge was a business manager at Computer 2000 and he held marketing roles at JVC Systems and Summagraphics.

Hideyuki Furumi, VP Business Planning and Strategy Division of the VAIO and Mobile Business Group, Sony

Furumi is responsible for overseeing Sony’s worldwide marketing, product planning and business development for PC, Tablet, Walkman and Reader products. He has 25 years of experience at Sony, which includes marketing and business management of multiple consumer electronics and IT products—plus 17 years of assignments overseas throughout South East Asia, Europe and North America.

Makoto Ishii, General Manager of Product Planning, VAIO and Mobile Business Group, Sony

Ishii is responsible for Sony Tablet product planning, business strategy and business creation with strategic partners. During his 19 years at Sony, Ishii’s roles have included R&D, engineering and system architect for IT area products, as well as project manager for the development of Sony’s communication-related products. After completing his education at MIT Sloan School of Management, he also covered business strategy for new business areas around IT technology experiences.

 

UPDATE: Please note that due to the need for early access to pre-release prototypes, the contest is only open to submissions from the US, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain and the UK. For complete rules, visit http://www.airappchallenge.com/rules.php.

The Adobe Flash Platform Helps Tell Woven Interactive’s Big Fish Story

Woven Interactive, an Atlanta-based digital marketing agency with a client roster that includes BP, Disney, Lifetime Channel, Lucent Alcatel, NASCAR.com, TNT, Turner Broadcasting and Reader’s Digest, has always been known to stay on top of new technologies and digital experiences. The company and president and co-founder, Charlie Schulze, knew that development agility, performance and the ability to deliver content across multiple devices would be vital to the success of its newest mobile and tablet game about an adventurous fish, Comb Over Charlie. The company turned to the Adobe Flash Platform to make this a reality.

Built using Adobe AIR and ActionScript with Adobe Flash Builder 4.5 and Adobe Flash Professional, Schulze was able to create a fast-paced game that could be delivered seamlessly across devices, running with native performance.  More specifically, the Flash Platform made it possible for the app to be developed once and published across multiple platforms using the same code base in minimal time, even several hours!

Woven Interactive also used Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 Web Premium to develop and promote the game, Adobe Photoshop CS5 Extended to help with the creation of characters and other elements for the app, and Adobe Dreamweaver CS5.5 to develop the promo site.

Initially created for Android, Comb Over Charlie is now available for download across more platforms, including BlackBerry Tablet OS and Apple iOS. Charlie and his team are excited about bringing this app to other websites, social media sites like Facebook and future devices using this streamlined workflow. 

Be sure to download the game for Android (free trial version), BlackBerry Tablet OS and iOS! To find out more about the integration between Adobe technologies or to download the Comb Over Charlie app for yourself go here.

 

See the Flash Platform in Action

Companies often turn to the Adobe Flash Platform to solve business problems. From data visualization to customer self service, here are some great rich Internet applications (RIAs) developed by Universal Mind that executed business ideas to make them a reality. Built with Adobe Flash Platform technologies like AIR and Flash Builder and integrating Creative Suite tools, check these RIAs from Kodak, SpatialKey and SchoolVIEW to see what’s possible and learn about the ease of cross-platform app development!

Watch how Universal Mind used Adobe Flash Platform technologies to build the Photo Book app for Kodak, helping them offer a profitable online service allowing customers to easily create their own Photo Books to share “Kodak Moments.”

 

See how SpatialKey uses Adobe Flash Platform technologies to create a flexible tool for enterprises that rely on large location-based data to better present timely information for better decision making.

 

Learn how SchoolVIEW by Universal Mind used Adobe Flash Platform technologies to enable the Colorado Department of Education to present student and school achievement data to help administrators, parents and government funders make better decisions regarding education, creating a uniform approach to student educational achievement.

Enter the Adobe AIR App Challenge, Sponsored by Sony – Win Up to $200,000 in Total Cash Prizes

Calling all developers! Do you want to create, distribute and monetize your apps across the newest devices hitting the market? Well, look no further than the “Sony Tablet” devices! Today, Adobe and Sony announced the Adobe AIR App Challenge, Sponsored by Sony. We want to get some great AIR apps on Android Market optimized for the two “Sony Tablet” models coming out this fall!

Sony will be releasing two tablets with an innovative look and feel. The Sony Tablet S1 (codename) is optimized for rich media entertainment and the Sony Tablet S2 (codename) is ideal for mobile communication and entertainment. Both will tap into Android Market and allow consumers to take advantage of the nearly 4,000 AIR apps and dozens of digital publications already available. Check out the sleek designs of Sony’s new tablets!

 

With the latest tools like Flash Professional CS5.5, Flash Builder 4.5 and Flex 4.5 at your disposal, creating powerful cross-platform AIR apps has never been easier. Submit your AIR apps for the App Challenge and you could win $200,000 in total cash prizes plus premium promotion on “Sony Tablet” devices. The contest will give developers selected as Finalists pre-release access to “Sony Tablet” prototypes along with the latest version of Adobe tools and AIR. The categories for the App Challenge include Entertainment, Lifestyle & Community, Games, Business & Productivity, and Innovation. Only 80 Finalist slots are available, so submit your apps today and no later than Oct. 10!

Additionally, Sony is a platinum sponsor for Adobe MAX, Adobe’s annual conference kicking off in LA on Oct. 1. If you submit working versions of your apps by Sept. 16, they could be selected as a MAX Showcase App and you could win a full conference pass, paid travel to MAX (Oct. 1-5) and additional prizes! Final app submissions are due and must be available on Android Market by Nov. 11.

Visit the Adobe AIR App Challenge site for details and deadlines. Please note that due to the need for early access to pre-release prototypes, the contest is only open to submissions from the US, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain and the UK. We look forward to seeing the innovative application experiences you bring to Sony’s new tablets!

Create Your Audio-biography with the Adobe Flash Platform app MusicMapper

This year’s GRAMMY Awards ceremony was filled with worthy winners and amazing musical performances from Mick Jagger, Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars and Arcade Fire to name a few. To encourage music fans to do more than watch, The Recording Academy launched a social media platform called “MusicIsLifeIsMusic.” Along with the platform, The Recording Academy and Adobe technology partner, HYFN, turned to the Adobe Flash Platform to create MusicMapper, an Adobe AIR powered desktop app that lets users tag songs and share them through social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, write about what those songs mean to them, and map them to a physical location all to create their very own musical audio-biography.

With the MusicMapper desktop app, The Recording Academy was able to extend the GRAMMY brand from the Web to the desktop in only a matter of weeks thanks to Adobe Flash Builder. Within the first few months of the apps launch, there were more than 220,000 downloads, and they were even able to capture the ever elusive teen and young audience demographic that so many brands want to engage with. With Adobe AIR’s cross-platform abilities, HYFN can continue to provide The Recording Academy with an app that can easily improve functionality, and offer new revenue opportunities.

Download the app for your desktop, and learn more about how The Recording Academy and HYFN used Adobe AIR to keep fans engaged with MusicMapper during the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards here.

EPIX and the Adobe Flash Platform Engage Movie Buffs Across Multiple Devices

Today’s technology savvy audiences want to experience content across multiple platforms and devices, and are beginning to move away from passive forms of entertainment—they want to participate and interact with others to shape their experience. EPIX—a multi-platform premium entertainment channel, video-on-demand, and online service– teamed up with Adobe to bring current releases, classics, and original entertainment to all video platforms—linear TV, on demand, online, and mobile—while also encouraging social integration and sharing to reach the broadest audience possible.

With the Adobe Flash Platform, EPIX, a joint venture of Paramount Pictures, Lionsgate, and MGM Studios, was given the necessary tools to create and carry out broadband authentication systems to over 30 million U.S. homes through its distribution partners including Charter Communications, Cox Communications, DISH Network, Mediacom Communications, NCTC, Suddenlink Communications, and Verizon FiOS with little to no development effort.

Using multiple Adobe technologies such as  Adobe Flash Professional, Adobe AIR, Adobe Flash Media Server, Adobe Flex, Adobe Flash Builder, and Adobe Flash Player, EPIX delivers content beyond the Web by building a library of available movie titles, which are encoded for delivery to a specific platform across different devices like Motorola XOOM, Samsung Galaxy Tab, and Boxee Box. One of the notable capabilities in EPIX is “Screening Room: Watch With Friends,” a feature that includes sharing capabilities allowing users to watch movies in a social event, turning the experience into a more into viral, interactive, and engaging gathering. The Screening Room is great for large-scale events like concerts on-demand to bring fans together.

Learn more about how EPIX how it provides premium HD content to its subscribers on devices everywhere here.