Archive for category Industry News
In November last year I presented at a QNX customer event in Stuttgart, attended by the top Automotive OEMs and suppliers. The event was great and it was clear that automotive is going to become yet another frontier for connected web technologies – what an exciting industy.
The QNX Neutrino OS is of course the underlying platform used by the Playbook as well as huge range of server, industrial and automotive products, all with “space-grade reliability”. QNX has of course shipped Neutrino in a huge array of different products in various configurations, making it one of the best choices for industrial, automotive, transport and consumer devices.
Interestingly, with the QNX Car, automotive OEMs can leverage Flash in a very unique way. Merging highly available OpenGL rendering with Flash components, and blended together using some special sauce. So with QNX Car, it’s possible to produce dashboards that are highly available and safe, yet dynamic and easy to produce in Flash. To enable this, the Neutrino OS employs a number of distributed processing techniques that ensure the safe running of key components – all while offering amazing multimedia and connectivity features.
Throughout 2010 we’ve all been thinking about the huge range of new devices, tablets, televisions and mobile phones that have begun to change the digital landscape. As part of my investigation into the automotive space, I started to think about the interactions between these devices. Do passengers want their tablet to be the control hub for their car of the future? What can we learn about our driving “expertise”, or green credentials using applications?
Imagine all of the opportunities for great integrated applications, think of all of the information at your disposal! We could have personalized and theme’d dashboards, mood sensors, and with 4G connectivity options on the horizon, we could see vast amounts of telemetry data help with the ever increasing congestion on our roads.
Well the good news is that the folks at QNX are already putting these concepts together. Let’s take a look at this demo shown at CES, integrating the RIM Playbook directly with the QNX car control systems…
This year I’ll be missing Adobe MAX in person, heading to Ireland tomorrow for a family wedding, so it has been an interesting experience to watch from afar. I guess the most obvious thing to point out is that “I can” – that is, watch it from afar.
The keynote this year is being approached differently, it’s all about solutions. You’ll notice that ‘devices’ don’t have a predictable section of their own, instead they are presented together across a set of five innovation vectors, Web Development, Video, Digital Publishing, Enterprise Applications, and Gaming. The dynamic has shifted from technologies to solutions, as presented by Kevin Lynch and guests Martha Stewart, Mark Goldberg of EPIX, Joe Simon of Condé Nast, Mike Lazaridis of RIM and David Nuescheler of Day Software (soon to be an Adobe company).
The conference this year is powered by Akamai and distributed using Flash Player to desktop computers, mobile phones and tablets and all major browsers. In addition, this years MAX is also streamed using Peer-2-Peer technology, found in Flash Player 10.1 – which is now available on 74% of desktop computers and just 3 months after launch.
These changes sum up our ongoing strategy to enable the creation of applications that are fit for purpose, expressive and multi-screen. As part of this we re-organized our teams at Adobe, folding the Flash Platform business unit into the Creative Suite Business Unit. Together our new group is called CIBU – Creative & Interactive Solutions.
Earlier in the year at Google IO we showed a new HTML5 extension for Dreamweaver CS5, created to enable the production of web properties across screens. Within this new HTML5 pack we have added support for CSS3 and media-queries that allow your web pages to be easily transposed to different screen sizes. Simply run the Adobe Updater to get started.
Finally, with our recent acquisition of Omniture we also showed NetAverages, an amazing product that forms part of the suite of applications including analytics, optimizations, conversion and acquisition tools. With NetAverages you can now gain access to a wealth of data around HTML5 support, devices, platforms and various technologies – all of which is presented in a stunning Flex interface. Statistic are gleaned anonymously from a large range of the worlds most popular websites.
This year we’ve seen the introduction of the Tablet form factor, which is a great leap forward for the publishing industry – enabling a new distribution and monetization model for the publishing industry. As part of this great work we’re going to ramp up our contributions to webkit, delivering improvement in layout control – including precision text wrapping around shape/images and enhancements for dynamic rendering of content for different form factors.
Today, almost all major publishing houses use Adobe InDesign to create their print pieces and deliver these to consumers at news stands. So it makes a lot of sense for this workflow to be enhanced to encompass the packaging and delivery of Digital Publications. We’re calling this solution the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite, a set of tools, deployment and SiteCatalyst reporting services that make it incredibly easy to target these new devices in a sustainable way.
Publishers create “stacks”, which are essentially articles/pages/ads in InDesign CS5 in portrait/landscape/both and publish these individually. Each stack can include interactive elements, buttons, links, scrollable frames and slideshows to enable rich experiences and drive innovation in their digital pieces. In addition, you can also use the Interactive Overlay Creator to produce 360° views, panoramas, image pans, audio, video, and web views. Web view is very similar to StageWebView, described in my previous blog posts
Video and audio are added very easily and use the H.264 format in addition to standard mp3 formats. You can integrate audio as part of the experience, maybe clicking sounds or swoosh effects – although I hope you can be more imaginative! Each interactive element has associated parameters to enable you to control the interaction for the user, such as looped slideshows, handling swipe events, fading, hightlights, transition timing and delays.
Finally, you can use the Adobe Digital Content Bundler to take the stacks and create an issue of your publication by simply adding each of the publication content folders and stacks. Publications can then be viewed in a generic viewer application and later deployed in a custom viewer for each publication.
From a publishers perspective, managing the technologies, deployments and interactions is pivotal to success in this new multi-screen world. With the Digital Publishing Suite, content creators can spend more time driving their content and brand – instead of worrying about the ever increasing costs of reaching their users across devices.
For the Enterprise we are now focused on “Customer Experience Management”, a new set of solutions that are targeted directly to enhancing the productivity and experiences for our largest customers.
At MAX we announced the availability of Flex 4.5 “Hero”, the latest version of Flex that has been highly optimized to enable the creation of mobile applications for Android, Blackberry and of course desktop computers. This new framework includes additional mobile components and skins to speed up the production of multi-screen apps and deliver new experiences on devices.
Flash Builder Burrito / Flash Catalyst Panini
Attendees received a DVD with a new version of Flash Builder, with some amazing new features for creating mobile applications. These include device debugging for Android (inc. USB support), integrated Android SDK tools and simulation for a host of supported devices. Flash Builder Burrito ships with Flex 4.5 embedded and you can download the trial here. Among the many new features are improved coding features, performance improvements and much improved support for working with Flash Catalyst Panini.
The Catalyst team have also been hard at work improving the workflows for designers and developers using Flex. With “Panini”, the team have focused on delivering the first steps towards full round tripping between Photoshop and Illustrator and Burrito. The results are looking great, enabling resizable applications and components, custom skins, code generation improvements and improvements for animation control and styles. You can download the trial of Panini here.
Earlier this year we announced that we are to acquire Day Software, a Swiss company with offices in Boston. Day are a global leader in content management with customers like Audi, Nissan, Volkswagen, MTV, Virgin Media and McDonalds. David Nuescheler was on hand to show CQ5, an amazing solution for managing content in multiple languages and for multiple screens. Customers can simply drag and drop assets and pages, type content directly into the pages and leverage approval and localization workflows directly from the tooling. I can’t wait to see more of our new EMEA team
Flash is now enabling the playback of 120 Billion megabytes of video every month, an astounding number that presents huge challenges for the Flash Player team. Today Flash supports numerous formats, resolutions and audio codecs being mixed together and delivered using DRM, encrypted streams, the open RTMP and it’s variants. In the latest player we also support playback over HTTP and RTMFP for P2P distribution of large events, thus driving the industry forward.
So what’s so big about video on a TV? – Well, what we actually showed is DRM protected and encrypted video running across the internet in HD format to a television. We’ve all sat at home watching video on our computers with 30″+ televisions in front of us, it’s just annoying. Today we showed that EPIX can leverage the Omniture analytics suite and industry approved Token based DRM (Flash Access) to present high-value content from the studios directly into the home. This signifies an industry change, for the first time you can deliver video across screens, whilst protecting it, measuring it, and enabling users to gain access to a full web of video currently missing from the living room.
At MAX we announced two things, Flash and AIR for TV and a new way to display video – StageVideo. StageVideo enables the use of hardware decoders, much like VLC does today, and this results in huge improvements in the CPU usage – but with limitations.
The API enables video to playback on a graphics plane, delivered straight to hardware, as opposed to being pipelined back into the Flash Player. Because of this, videos rendered with this API cannot support transparency and objects will not render behind the video. Flash content, such as overlays for video controls are rendered on top of the video in a separate graphics plane. In fact, on TV this will be the defacto rendering method and all video objects will render this way.
Moving forward, all devices using the Flash runtime will have access to this new API set. The Blackberry Playbook is the first tablet to implement this support to deliver an incredible video experience on their hardware, demonstrated for the first time at Adobe MAX.
AIR applications can now be built for TV using AIR2.5, the applications runtime deployed for Android and desktop platforms. These applications are typically video based, although we do see some great opportunities for gaming and social connectivity moving forward.
Flash Player and AIR on TV are supported on Samsung TVs and Blueray Players, Google TV and BBC Youview hardware.
The most exciting piece from the keynote today was probably the advancements in gaming and 3D support planned for an upcoming Flash Player release. On the top of the tick list is game controller support, the ability to simply plugin your USB joypad or steering wheel and start playing games! I’m so excited about it
Needless to say, gaming on the web is set for a omplete overhaul, with 3D capabilities that use leverage GPU hardware and rendering millions of triangles per second. What’s more incredible is that the demo below uses 0% CPU, and if our current stats hold true, we can get this out to 3/4 of the online world in three months after launch.
Check it out…
Note: These AIR features are “working”, although they may not make it into the v1 product.
Note: This is not an Adobe product, but simply a feature demo that took 3 days. Any one can build P2P applications with Flash and AIR.
This week I have been working on a couple of different mini-projects to test out new beta features of AIR 2.5 for Android. The engineering team are pushing out features every week, and I have to say I’m very very impressed with their efforts. We are arguably now at feature parity with the desktop AIR releases, which is precisely the goal of the Open Screen Project.
In the 5/7 build we have added Camera, Microphone, StageWebView and NativeExtensions features to the beta. Of course AIR comes with all of the Flash Player 10.1 features along with multi-touch/gestures, support for bitmap matrix caching and Geolocation APIs in addition.
The code isn’t exactly stable so I don’t want to release it just yet. I hope I can finish it by next week, by which time it will have a name. I changed the name of this demo since it’s not an Adobe Flash Platform product, which caused some confusion. There aren’t plans currently to release this as a product, however I will publish the source code for all.
Surprise! Today at Google I/O Vic Gundotra, Google VP Engineering announced Flash Player 10.1 and Adobe AIR 2.5 running on FroYo. The launch today represents a milestone that we’ve been working towards for some time, and all of us at Adobe are hugely excited to see Flash Player 10.1 finally get into the hands of consumers.
The beta is now waiting on the Android Market for Nexus One and other Android 2.2 users to test out. General availability is expected in June 2010.
While today’s announcement is all about Android, our target mobile operating systems for Flash Player also include Windows Phone 7, webOS, Symbian, and BlackBerry. Adobe provides a porting kit and Linux-based reference implementation to Open Screen Project partners to allow them to port Flash Player 10.1 to other platforms. These ports are subject to Adobe certification and must pass our standards for compatibility, performance and usability in order for devices to be marketed as “Includes Adobe Flash Player.”
Flash Player 10.1 on Android
In all, Flash Player 10.1 has been built from the ground up, and not just for mobile phones but for the desktops, tablets, netbooks and even televisions, consoles and set-top boxes. We have been working extremely hard on the runtime of course, but on top of that many of you have been working with us to optimize your web content for Flash Player 10.1.
Here is a landing page that features a number of websites that highlight the variety of Flash Player user experiences available on a mobile device. These sites and most popular websites that use Flash can now be accessed on smartphones supporting Flash Player 10.1.
Since we demonstrated the Flash Player on Android at the Mobile World Congress there have been a number of decisions made, changes implemented and tweaks applied to Flash Player 10.1. These changes focused on usability, integration, performance and power management – so let’s look at some of these in more detail.
Installation and updates
I have documented the process over here in another post. Suffice to say, the process is simple and demonstrates our commitment with the Open Screen Project to ensuring the evolution of Flash Player on mobile and devices.
Due to time constraints with shipping FroYo it hasn’t been possible to make all of the Android browser changes required to enable multi-touch in Flash Player. Web enablement has always been the top priority and so this (extremely complex) integration will happen later. AIR 2.5 on Android is multi-touch enabled and so it’s still possible to use your fingers, thumbs and toes as necessary on Android.
One of the cool new feature of Flash Player 10.1 is the accelerometer API, making Flash Player the first browser technology to support access to this hardware. In Device Central CS5 we have added some emulation support for the API, you can read more here.
Focused Mode (single tap)
The Android and other browsers support multi-touch for viewing web pages, so that you can pan and zoom around non-optimized sites with ease. To ensure that touch events are received by Flash or the browser appropriately we have created focused mode. It works very simply using a priority system, so if you tap the Flash content that you want to interact with Flash receives the touch events, if Flash doesn’t pick up the event then it’s passed to the browser. Tapping on the HTML will revert this focus priority back to the browser.
Smartzoom (double tap)
When a user double taps a piece of Flash content it will zoom to fit the screen, while maintaining the correct aspect ratio. The content is still viewed in the context of the HTML, rather than launching into full screen mode. This ensures that content remains in embedded mode – which makes sense given that this is the predominant usage of Flash on the web.
Another change to our previous showing is that FullScreen mode is now controlled via actionscript, just as it is on the desktop. So if you want your video player or game to playback using the full screen, then you’ll need to use this code:
We have already seen some of the benefits of this effort on the desktop version of Flash Player 10.1. Essentially it means that Flash content that’s not visible to the user will not be rendered and will receive limited CPU time. SWFs that are off-screen and/or consuming required resources can also be put to sleep and resumed on demand. You can control this behaviour by applying priority values to SWF files using the embed tag.
Video Hardware Decoding
One of the hardest features to get right has been video hardware decoding, and for the beta version this will not be enabled.
The player will be put to sleep along with the device to conserve power. So if you fall asleep watching youtube then you won’t wake up to talking cats at 4am – tried and tested. cats…
For me, this is the kick-ass feature that should always have been arbitrating the use of the Flash Player. If your content is not optimized correctly, has serious memory leaks and manages to use too much CPU power then it’ll go in the “sin bin” These SWFs will render with a “click-to-play” button that the user can control as necessary.
As with Flash Lite before it, Flash Player 10.1 has to be a good citizen on a mobile phone. So if you receive a call or change application then Flash Player will respond appropriately, which typically means shutting down or pausing depending on the platform.
As has been documented before, our minimum spec for Flash Player 10.1 is ARM11-Cortex A8/9 at 550mhz. For Cortex-A8 processors we require NEON, which enables improved multi-media playback for a lower mhz rating.
If you don’t know what any of that means then I wouldn’t be too concerned. These chipsets represent the bulk of what our OEM partners are shipping, or planning to ship moving forward – and this list will undoubtedly expand.
AIR 2.5 on Android
Also announced today is an expanded pre-release of AIR 2.5 for Android devices. Many of us on the Evangelism team have been playing with this for several weeks now, and it’s seriously cool.
With CS5 now available the EMEA Evangelism team have been hard at work prepping for our upcoming tour and the Online Developer Week. The course of events will fall between June 7th – 10th covering everything from design in Photoshop CS5 to development, and even deployment of your applications using the Flash Platform suite of tools.
The tools covered will include Flash Builder, Flash Professional, Flash Catalyst, Flex 4 and the Flash Player 10.1 and AIR 2 runtimes. In my own session we’ll also be covering Device Central and some asset optimization guidelines for targeting mobile phones.
We’ll also look at P2P with Flash Player 10.1 as well as Livecycle, PHP and Java integration on the backend.
June 7th – 12:00 – 13:00 GMT Erase the Designer to Developer gap: Adding interactions to your design with Serge Jespers
June 7th – 15:00 – 16:00 GMT Connecting your design to PHP services with Mihai Corlan
June 8th – 12:00 – 13:00 GMT Connecting a web application to a J2EE backend using Flash Builder 4 with Michael Chaize
June 8th – 15:00 – 16:00 GMT Working with Flash CS5 components in your Flash Builder 4 project with Mike Jones
June 9th – 12:00 – 13:00 GMT Going multi-user with P2P in Flash Player 10.1 with Tom Krcha
June 9th – 15:00 – 16:00 GMT Developing multi-user applications with LiveCycle services with Tom Krcha
June 10th – 12:00 – 13:00 GMT Bringing web Applications to the desktop with AIR 2.0 with Piotr Walczyscyn
Jun 10th – 15:00 – 16:00 GMT Code once and run on multiple mobile devices with Mark Doherty
We’ve been busy for the past week building “EVA” to demonstrate all of the above. I think you’ll be really impressed with it and of course we’ll be providing the code after for you to use in your own applications.