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.

H.264 GPU Decoding in Flash Player on Mac OS X is live [ by Thibault Imbert ]

We just pushed a few minutes ago a new version of the Flash Player 10.1.82.76 containing a nice feature that was in beta until now called “Gala”. Yes, H.264 GPU decoding in Mac OSX is now officially enabled in the Flash Player. You should notice now a nice difference when playing H.264 content on your [...]

Flash Player 10.1 – Hardware Acceleration Ahoy!

Some key announcements around our work with Qualcomm and NVIDIA with Flash Player 10.1, the version number for our new desktop and mobile runtime.  Some would argue (and I’m sure some did) that if .1 means only incremental changes then we should have called it Flash 11!  The work that has gone into this runtime, we have doubled the number of supported platforms including Symbian, Android, Palm, Windows Mobile, Linux, Windows and Mac OS.

It’s a huge investment made possible by the incredible talent that is Adobe’s Flash Engineering team.  Let’s see the Silverlight team rock something like that out!

One of the biggest challenges has been performance for constrained devices.  GPU acceleration and optimizations by ARM, Intel and our OEM partners have enabled us to create a better player, one that uses less RAM, less battery and renders faster on constrained devices.

Don’t you just love the Open Screen Project??

A big round of applause for our engineering teams!