MAX 09: Flash Player becomes runtime environment for any platform
At the beginning of this week's Adobe MAX conference, Adobe has announced version 10.1 of Flash Player Runtime, which is scheduled to become available as a beta before the end of the year. The new version is the first to be based on the runtime environment developed by the Open Screen Project and works with the Windows, Linux and Mac OS X desktop operating systems as well as with the Windows Mobile and Palm webOS mobile platforms. Public betas for Google's Android and Symbian OS are expected for early 2010.
A recently announced co-operation between Adobe and Research In Motion (RIM) will create a version of Flash Player that runs on BlackBerry smartphones. Flash Player support for iPhones has not been scheduled yet, as the required co-operation with Apple has not yet materialised. A new addition to the Adobe platform is the announcement that Flash can now also run on ARM CPUs, specifically Cortex-A series ARM processors. ARM CPUs are widely used on mobile devices and the ability to play Flash will widen the number of sites accessible by ARM based netbooks and other devices where the power-sipping ARM chips are used.
According to Adobe, the new Flash version is the first runtime environment capable of rendering web applications and content as well as high definition (HD) videos across a variety of device types. It can reportedly utilise GPU performance to accelerate the rendering of video and graphics content while being economical with the resources, for instance the battery life, of a device. It also supports typical mobile device features like multi-touch, gestures and input switches for small displays.
Also new is HTTP streaming including content protection via the Flash Access 2.0 rights management server, formerly called Flash Media Rights Management Server. Adobe previously only used the Real-Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP). The new open protocol, code-named Zeri, is to allow content providers to stream via existing HTTP infrastructures.
With the Open Screen Project initiated last year, Adobe intends to establish its proprietary Flash technology as the standard runtime platform for expressive content across devices. For this initiative, the graphics software specialist is cooperating with about 50 device manufacturers, telecommunications companies and TV companies. As of today, Adobe's cooperators include Google.