Adobe Flash Player 11 and AIR 3 To Debut in Early October

In a breathtakingly long blog post, Adobe announced that Adobe Flash Player 11 and AIR 3 will launch early this October.

Right off the bat, Adobe alluded to the fact that Flash Player 11 and AIR 3 will run on just about any type of Internet-connected screen you have, from smartphones to computers to Internet-connected TVs. Specifically, the post mentions Android, iOS, BlackBerry Playbook, and Windows and Mac computers.

This is in contrast to Flash Player 10, which took a while to add functionality for smartphones. It’s nice to see that Adobe built this version to run on a variety of device types.

At launch, Adobe will also debut a new hardware accelerated graphics architecture called Stage 3D (codenamed “Molehill”) that should enhance graphics experiences across all those aforementioned Internet-connected screens. According to Adobe, Stage 3D will offer 1,000 times the rendering performance of Flash Player 10 as well as other impressive capabilities:

“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.”

Stage 3D is also designed to get the most out of old hardware with its accelerated software rendering, so it should enable those who haven’t updated their computer in a long while to enjoy a 2x-10x performance boost from Flash Player 10.

The effects of any improvements to Flash Player and AIR come October will be seen and felt quickly, as Flash enjoys fairly comprehensive adoption and support across devices. Adobe stated in a press release that 98% of Internet-connected PCs support Flash Player currently. By the end of 2011, it believes that 200 million mobile devices will have support via Adobe AIR--including, Adobe pointedly noted, iOS devices. That’s a lot of devices, but the company believes that by the end of 2015, devices that support Adobe AIR will reach the 1 billion mark.

We’ll be looking forward to seeing for ourselves what Adobe hath wrought in a few weeks.

Here are the primary features of Flash Player 11 and AIR 3 in bullet form, courtesy of the Adobe press release:

* Accelerated 2D/3D Graphics: Full hardware-accelerated rendering for 2D and 3D graphics enable 1,000 times faster rendering performance over Flash Player 10 and AIR 2. Developers are able to animate millions of objects with smooth 60 frames per second rendering and deliver console-quality games on Mac OS, Windows and connected televisions. A pre-release brings these same accelerated 2D and 3D capabilities to mobile platforms including Android, Apple iOS and BlackBerry Tablet OS. A production release for mobile platforms is expected in the near future. For examples of 3D games for Flash Player, visit

* AIR Native Extensions: With support for thousands of highly-optimized, open-source libraries, developers are able to tap into unique software and hardware capabilities including access to device data, vibration control, magnetometers, light sensors, dual screens, near field communications (NFC) and more. Native extensions also allow developers to more deeply integrate AIR applications with other business software.

* Captive Runtime: Developers can automatically package AIR 3 with their applications to simplify the installation process on Android, Windows and Mac OS in addition to Apple iOS. Users no longer have to download and update AIR separately on any of these platforms, or BlackBerry Tablet OS, which includes AIR built in. In addition, with the captive runtime option developers can manage version updates to their application independent of general AIR updates by Adobe.

* Content Protection: Premium video content can now be protected using Adobe Flash Access® 3 across all supported platforms, including new support for mobile platforms.

* HD Video Quality Across Platforms: Full frame rate HD video can now be displayed within AIR applications on Apple iOS devices using H.264 hardware decoding. Rich applications on televisions are also able to deliver HD video with 7.1 channel surround sound.

* Rental and Subscriptions Support: With support for Adobe Flash Access and Adobe Pass, content publishers can take advantage of rental and subscription options for more flexible business models and offer TV Everywhere content to more than 80 percent of U.S. pay TV subscribers.

* Compatibility: 64-bit support on Linux, Mac OS and Windows ensures a seamless experience with the latest 64-bit browsers.