Posts in Category "Uncategorized"

The new Flash Player update and Google Chrome

We’ve just released an update to Flash Player 10.1. Google Chrome users have Flash Player integrated into their browser, and Google has begun pushing out automatic updates to Chrome users. If you’re using Chrome, you’ll automatically get the latest Flash Player, and most users will be updated within 24 hours (the Dev channel will be updated by the end of the week).

Chrome 5.0 users who can’t wait to get the new version of Flash Player can select “About Google Chrome” under the Tools menu (indicated by the wrench icon near the Chrome address bar) to trigger the latest update.

In addition, developers can view this TechNote to learn how to download a separate version of Flash Player manually and use it with Chrome. However, we recommend that Chrome users simply wait to receive an automatic update and benefit from the seamless upgrade via their browser.

Tom Nguyen
Product Manager, Flash Player

Flash Player and Chrome Integration is a Go!

Per our announcement in March about working with Google to integrate Flash Player into Google Chrome — the initial phase is now complete. When users install or update the Chrome browser, they will also receive the latest version of Adobe Flash Player with no need to do a separate install. Our hope is that the integration between Flash Player and the Chrome browser will serve as a showcase for more consistent, seamless, and intuitive Web browsing experiences. We feel that this work by both Google and Adobe will benefit the entire community of developers and end-users. Read more about the integration from the Chrome team on their blog.

Additionally, as we discussed previously in our original announcement of the Flash Player and Chrome integration, work is underway on a new API called Pepper that can provide a more robust way for Web browsers and plug-ins to interact with each other. We welcome and encourage others to participate in the definition and development of the Pepper API.

Flash Player 10.1: Live and Ready for Android

This week marks an exciting milestone for Flash Player. On Tuesday, June 22, we announced the availability of the shipping version of Flash Player 10.1 for mobile. The final release has been posted to the Android Market. With Andy Rubin’s announcement today about Android 2.2 (“Froyo”) being released as open source, we expect select devices can be upgraded to Froyo and can install Flash Player. As I shared previously, this release was a major undertaking to get the same Flash Player to work across various smartphones and desktop operating systems and browsers. Through the generous contributions of our partners (read more about the Open Screen Project) and the extensive community feedback we received along the way, we’ve been able to further optimize and tune the technology. For instance, the Beta release feedback we received was instrumental in helping us further improve Flash Video performance.
You may have also heard the news on the launch of Motorola’s new Droid X smartphone on the Verizon network this morning. It’s an impressive device with a beautiful 4.3 inch high-res screen backed up by a 1 ghz processor and 8 GB of onboard memory and a 16 GB microSD card. Both users of the Droid X and the original Droid can get Flash Player 10.1 with the Android 2.2 update later this summer.
What I personally find most exciting are the opportunities ahead for developers. At today’s Droid X launch in New York, Andy Rubin shared that 160,000 Android phones are sold daily. As more and more Android devices come to market, along with planned support for Flash Player on RIM’s Blackberry devices, Nokia’s Symbian and MeeGo devices, Palm’s WebOS devices, and future versions of Windows Phone, the momentum is clear. Its a truly an amazing time for Flash.

Flash Player in Chrome, An Update

As we recently announced, we’re working with Google to integrate Flash Player into Google Chrome so that when users install or update the browser, they will also receive the latest version of Adobe Flash Player, with no need to do a separate install.
Chrome 5.0 and Flash Player 10.1 have been in beta testing together for the last several weeks. Now as we are preparing our final releases, Google is locking down Chrome 5.0 first, without the beta version of Flash Player 10.1 built-in (since the plug-in will still be in beta when Chrome 5.0 ships). Once we finalize Flash Player 10.1, it will be reintegrated into Chrome shortly.
In the meantime, if you download the latest build of Chrome, the integrated Flash Player will not be enabled by default (though it is still available behind the “-enable-internal-flash” command line flag). However, if you have a version of Flash Player on your system for other plugin-based browsers, Chrome will automatically use the shared version of Flash Player.

The Engineering Behind Flash Player 10.1

Today represents an exciting milestone for the Flash Platform as we officially launch the public beta release of Flash Player 10.1 on Android-based devices. The Beta release is now available and as soon as Google releases their update to the Android OS, code-named “FroYo”, users will be able to get the new Flash Player installed over the air from the Android Market. The public beta release is your opportunity to try out our dramatically updated browser-based runtime with a deep focus on performance, battery life, memory management, user experience on mobile devices, and other mobile-specific features. With the pervasive use of Flash Player content on the web today, users will be able to experience the full extent of the web that Flash enables including video, games, animations, Rich Internet Apps, data presentations and visualizations, commerce, music, and so much more. It’s great to see that our extensive technical collaboration on this with our partners is now becoming a reality. To give you some perspective on the magnitude of this release, let’s look at some of the performance improvements and optimizations we made for Flash Player 10.1.

Power and Battery Optimizations

Mobile platforms are carefully tuned to deliver a broad range of capabilities while minimizing battery consumption. Flash Player 10.1 was developed to seamlessly integrate into this environment. To deliver on this objective, we added a new capability called instance management to intelligently load and play back Flash content only after it comes within view on the web page. This capability also allows us to work in conjunction with the browser to ensure the web page is loaded as quickly as possible.

A related capability we added is called pause and resume. Flash Player will automatically pause the content that is running when the browser is hidden from view or the current tab is placed in the background. Not only does this conserve power, but it allows the content to instantly hibernate should an important trigger event occur, such as an incoming phone call. Once the user returns to their browser session, the HTML page and the Flash content are returned to their exact point prior to the trigger event.

Another example of a power-saving capability we have developed is called timer throttling. Flash Player makes use of timers to control the speed of content execution. When the screen display dims, Flash Player utilizes this signal to automatically throttle back the speed at which the content is executing while the device is in this power-saving mode. In the case where the content is playing back audio or video, Flash Player will not throttle it back to ensure a seamless media playback experience.

These new capabilities in Flash Player 10.1 offer some insight into the priority we placed on conserving power and staying true to the goal of maximizing battery life on mobile devices.

Maximizing Performance

The architecture of mobile platforms is very different from desktops, laptops, and netbooks. To take advantage of these highly integrated hardware environments, we took a very comprehensive look at how Flash Player uses the CPU, GPU, memory, and storage. The Flash Player team, with engineering cooperation across our Open Screen Project partners, meticulously optimized the machine instructions used in our virtual machine, rendering engine, and media codecs to run efficiently on mobile hardware.

In the case of the ActionScript 3 virtual machine, we updated our just-in-time compiler to emit native ARM instructions to maximize the execution speed of applications on these platforms. With a significant portion of the Flash content on the web having been written in ActionScript 1 and 2, we also invested in increasing the execution speed of this content.

In addition, Flash Player will take advantage of the purpose-built hardware on the mobile device including the media decoders to optimize the playback of content such as H.264 video and AAC audio streams. This specialized hardware can often perform a specific task more efficiently than the CPU. Not only does this result in higher fidelity playback, but it can yield a nice power savings.

The investments we made in execution speed will be apparent in a broad range of content, from Flash applications to games to video, and everything in between. We took an extensive look at the performance characteristics of Flash Player in many different scenarios and drove considerable improvements in the execution speed. As a result of this work, most Flash content on the web today will execute more efficiently with no changes required to receive these benefits.

Conserving Memory

Mobile platforms have considerably less memory than most personal computers and Flash Player 10.1 includes numerous optimizations to minimize the amount of memory required for content and applications. We have added automatic compression of media in memory to matchthe typically smaller screen size and color depth of a mobile device. We have also enhanced the memory garbage collection system to work more effectively, particularly in low memory situations. We made changes to more aggressively release temporary buffers and media caches for images and audio data. These changes have translated into some dramatic improvements. In some cases, you’ll see content that now automatically consumes 50% less memory with Flash Player 10.1 when compared to our previous release.

Another important enhancement we made relates to streaming media. In some cases, content such as video is buffered in memory to allow the user to quickly seek forward or backward. In the case of mobile platforms, we added a new circular buffering capability that allows Flash Player to constrain the size of the media buffer and recycle this memory as the content plays. This new capability strikes a balance between allowing the user to navigate within sequential media, like video, and the amount of memory that content can consume.

The Flash Player team also did a lot of development around low memory support, as this is a common situation on mobile devices. To protect against content that requires too much memory for the device, we added a new system that detects when memory is running low so defensive actions can be taken to prevent a crash. In this case, the Flash Player now has a set of heuristics to shut down content when resources are running low or depleted and gracefully exit the content. This work will also benefit personal computer users that have many tabs open in their browser such that their PC is operating in a low memory situation.

Usability and Interactivity

The last topic I’ll cover is usability. In this case, it’s critically important that Flash content on a smart phone both behave consistently with the HTML page and enable rich interactivity with media in Flash. For example, as a web page can be zoomed using a multi-touch gesture by the user, the Flash content needs to enable that to happen seamlessly. If the user rotates the phone to switch into landscape mode, the Flash content responds as you’d expect. If the user double-taps to zoom in or out, the Flash content responds in a consistent, intuitive way. We have enhanced this interaction to enable a new smart-zoom capability, bringing zoomed Flash content to the best width/height dimension for the device to enable easy viewing of video and other content in Flash. We have also added the ability for content to specify that it should automatically go into full screen mode on first interaction in order to enable easy full screen interactivity with games. This new mode is indicated to the user with a message about how to exit full screen mode on their particular device.
The Flash Player team added a number of new capabilities that are essential to smart phones. Text fields in Flash will automatically take advantage of virtual or soft keyboards for text entry when a physical input device is not available. In this case, the text field is intelligently repositioned on the screen to facilitate text input.

In addition, Flash Player exposes some of the unique capabilities of mobile platforms, including access to the accelerometer. This will allow the Flash development community to create content that leverages some of the unique capabilities. We’ve got more work to do here, but we’re off to a good start and look forward to exposing new capabilities in the future, such as geolocation support.

These examples demonstrate the importance of ensuring that Flash content on a mobile device offers a predictable and intuitive experience to the end-user. To help ensure that we got the experience right, we conducted multiple rounds of usability testing to try out new ideas and improve the experience based on the feedback we received. Our goal was to ensure that existing content simply works as expected and ultimately allow smart phone users to experience the full glory of the web.

Looking Ahead

As we look forward, it’s important to note that this is just the start of our work to bring the full Flash Player to mobile devices. We will continue to improve on this effort as we support a broad range of smart phones, tablets, televisions, and other devices. Of course, a number of these optimizations and improvements will also directly benefit Flash Player on desktop and netbook platforms. At the same time, we’ve seen content publishers like Sony Pictures, Nickelodeon, Miniclip, Warner Brothers, Kongregate, South Park Studios and others already optimizing their sites to deliver the best possible experience within the context of smaller screens. Developers, who are looking for tips about optimizing Flash content for mobile devices should check out this document.

Smartphones in market today that will be able to run Flash Player 10.1 include the Nexus One, DROID by Motorola, HTC Evo, HTC Incredible, HTC Desire, Samsung Galaxy S, Motorola Milestone and others, but will depend on FroYo availability for a given device. Upgrade mechanisms and timing will vary by device and device manufacturer. To make it as easy as possible to install Flash Player, we are enabling over-the-air downloads which include content-initiated downloads, system software updates, and on-device app catalogs. Over time, a number of new phones are planned to ship with Flash Player 10.1 preinstalled. We’re thrilled to take the first step today and can’t wait to see how millions of Flash developers will innovate for mobile devices.

I hope you’re as excited about the future and the opportunities ahead as we are.

Paul Betlem
Sr. Director, Flash Player Engineering
PS: If you are a developer and want to start developing apps for Android today, check out this post from the AIR team and read all about the AIR SDK developer release we made available for Android today.

Available Now: Developer Prerelease of AIR for Android

We are pleased today to announce the public availability of the Adobe AIR for Android Developer Prerelease program. Any designer or developer interested in building Android applications using the Flash Platform is welcome to join this program to get access to our beta SDK. Whether you are already an experienced Flash developer or just interested in learning Flash, we encourage you to join our prerelease program to get started on building Android applications today using AIR.

You will gain immediate access to our beta AIR Android SDK

By joining the prerelease program, developers will also have access to a new extension to
Flash Professional CS5 that publishes directly to Android devices. The extension adds a new AIR for Android publish setting that works in the shipping and 30-day trial versions of Flash Professional CS5.

At Google I/O today, we are also showing several AIR applications running on Android smartphones. These applications were built by members of a small private prerelease program we have been running for the past month. Their experience has been very positive and they have already created some great applications with our early builds.

A selection of AIR applications shown at Google I/O

Qrossfire.png connectpro.png
Qrossfire – Bowler Hat Games
gio_0.png BlogRadio.png
Google I/O Scheduler-Veronique Brossier
fruitsmash.jpg trackometer.png
Fruit Smash – Electrotank
Trackometer – Spin Technologies

We continue to make great progress towards releasing AIR for Android in the second half of this year. We look forward to working with Google and other Open Screen Project partners to bring innovative applications created with AIR to multiple platforms and devices.

Thanks,
Michael Chou
Product Manager, Adobe AIR for Android

Improved Flash Player Support in Chrome

The Flash Platform has a long history of delivering Web innovation, and core to the Platform is Adobe Flash Player, our browser-based application runtime. Today, Flash Player is installed on nearly all Internet-connected desktops worldwide, and delivers rich content and interactive Web applications to a rapidly growing number of smartphones, tablets and netbooks. We continue to advance Flash Player through both my team’s work and through the contributions of the Open Screen Project, which includes almost 70 industry partners.
Google is a key participant in the Open Screen Project and shares our commitment to driving innovation on the Web. With this common goal in mind, Adobe and Google are collaborating to take the Flash Player experience to the next level by supporting a deeper integration with Google’s Chrome browser. Today, Google is releasing the initial integration of Flash Player with Chrome in their developer channel, behind a command line flag. Moving forward, Google will be including Flash Player in Chrome so users will always have the most current release and a safer and more seamless experience. To learn more about this integration you can visit the Chromium Blog.
Additionally, we are also working with Google, Mozilla, and the broader community on a new API that can provide a better way for all Web browsers and plug-ins to interact with each other. While the current NPAPI has served the industry well, it lacks the flexibility and power to support the pace of innovation we see ahead. We expect that the new API specification will offer some distinct benefits over the current technology available.

  • The API will be operating system and browser-neutral, minimizing the chance of inconsistent behavior across platforms.
  • The new API is being designed with the flexibility to allow plug-ins to more tightly integrate with host browsers.
  • The new plug-in API will provide performance benefits since the host browser will be able to directly share more information about its current state.
  • The tighter integration provided by the API can allow for a more secure browsing experience as it will be easier to unify security models and collaborate on security techniques, such as sandboxing.

We welcome and encourage the participation in the definition and development of this new API. To read more about this project, visit this page.
Our hope is that the robust integration between Chrome and Flash Player will serve as a showcase for more consistent, seamless, and efficient Web browsing experiences. We feel that this significant effort by both Google and Adobe will directly improve the speed of innovation and move the Web forward, benefiting the entire community of developers and end-users.
Paul Betlem
Sr. Director, Flash Player Engineering

Improving accessibility in Flash Player and the Flash Platform

Andrew Kirpatrick just blogged on the Adobe Accessibility blog about an important upgrade we are planning for accessibility in Flash Player, AIR and Flex. Specifically, we will use IAccessible2 from the Linux Foundation and the WAI-ARIA specification from the W3C. Flash Player already implements Microsoft’s MSAA API ,and IAccessible2 (IA2) is a more modern API that provides improvements to MSAA. Choosing IA2 will enable us to address user and developer needs and to ease interoperability with assistive technology vendors across all three major operating systems (Windows, Mac, and Linux). Note this is not a Flash Player 10.1 feature, but we wanted to demonstrate our commitment and identify the specific improvements we are making to improve support for the needs of computer users with disabilities. This work and related accessibility improvements are expected in the next major release* of the player.

* Yep, as always, I can’t provide you with a date on that one

Welcome to the Flash Player Team Blog

Welcome to the Flash Player Team development team blog. I’m Emmy Huang , a Group Product Manager for Flash Player. The team wanted to start this blog to share with you information about how things work in Flash Player, why they work the way they do, tips, tricks, and other interesting behind-the-scenes details.
While there are several individual team bloggers, such as Tinic, Mike and Trevor, this blog presents an opportunity for the team at large to also contribute to the conversation. And of course, don’t forget about using the public bugbase to file bugs and feature requests!
The team is excited about using this blog to engage with the community, so stay tuned as I start to get various team members blogging here over the coming months.
Best,
Emmy Huang
Group Product Manager, Adobe Flash Player
p.s. Not that the engineers are capable of “marketing-speak”, but we’ll do our best to give you the straight story.

Update to Adobe AIR 1.5.2

Yesterday, updates to Adobe Reader and Acrobat (9.2) were released, which may cause a small number of AIR applications that load PDF content to become unresponsive. This only affects AIR apps on Windows operating systems. To address this issue, we have released an update to Adobe AIR (1.5.2.8900) that is now available on the Adobe AIR Download Center.

For additional information on this issue, please see the following Adobe Reader TechNote: AIR application not displaying PDF while using Adobe Reader/Acrobat 9.2 on Windows.