As you have undoubtedly noticed by now, we’ve been updating the Flash Player and AIR runtimes with increased frequency. In fact, we’re moving to a new (roughly) quarterly update schedule for the runtimes that we hope will deliver huge advances across the web in a very short time.
Why? I guess there are a number of reasons, the most interesting one is mobile investments bringing new fruit and HTML beginning to take more of the weight. If you remember, during the 18months when Flash Player 10.1 was launching we received a lot of feedback that we were over-committed to mobile in general. I think unfortunately the word didn’t get out that these investments were much broader than just mobile devices. It was a ground up effort to enable the Flash Platform to support sweeping changes in the way media is composed, rendered, protected and analyzed.
Looking at the world through Tomi Ahonen’s eyes, you can see that a growing majority of web access is now on mobile devices. That is, if you include the numbers of people using mobile only and mobile or desktop devices. Of course these devices require new tools, new ideas and new content that runs effectively – it’s time for a shift in thinking.
Historically this is actually a pattern of advances on the web if you look at Flash releases, maybe some of you recognized it?
- Flash 1 – Vector Graphics Support
- Flash 3 – MovieClips, loadMovie
- Flash 6 – AS1, XML, Video, Unicode, Drawing API, events, AMF
- Flash 9 – AS3, H.264, JIT Compiler, E4X, Binary Sockets
- Flash 11 – Full 3D etc
Note: I’m not attempting to be precise here, it’s just a pattern that describes the general points where the Platform has evolved over time. There are obviously matching HTML/Jscript/CSS advances to match, all of which make the wheels of the web go round.
So in our efforts to drive web innovation, and take the Flash Platform to new places, let’s look at the current and upcoming Flash Player releases.
Flash Player 10.2
New Features include:
- StageVideo support, pushing decoding and screen blitting of H.264 video via the GPU. This is actually a feature that comes from the Digital Home investments, and in fact Flash Lite on Nokia phones rendered video in much the same way.
- Complete Hardware rendering path on IE9
- Native Mouse Cursors, enabling richer gaming experiences
StageVideo should now be included in all situations where you are presenting video. It’s automatically enabled on mobile and Digital Home devices, but on the desktop it’s not always possible to use this method. Get started with StageVideo today.
Many of you have noticed that Flash Player 10.2 has yet to launch on mobile, for which there are number of reasons. Those are quite obvious really, it’s just much more complicated to ship on mobile phones and tablets. In addition, we’re targeting the new Android 3.0.1 release from Google as well, a platform that brings fresh features and challenges.
That said, Flash Player 10.2 is expected to ship on Android in two days time.
Flash Player 10.3
Already fast on the heels of 10.2 is a desktop beta version of the next Flash Player to launch. This is actually on the most exciting releases for some time because it delivers new features, many of which are driven by the community.
New Features include:
- Media Measurement
- Acoustic Echo Cancellation
- Integration with browser privacy control for local storage
- Native Control Panel
- Auto-Update Notification for Mac OS
With these new additions, the community will be able to create incredible VOIP applications in the browser. One of the missing items for those applications was Echo Cancellation, essentially processing of the Microphone inputs so that you won’t need a headset. I’m certainly going to use this for my Radar application.
Another nice new feature is the native control panel, this will make Flash feel more integrated into the Desktop or device experience. Finally we can get rid of the horrible SWF based settings manager on Adobe.com, something that confused even me. Users will be able to control their own security and experience much more easily, as well as make the best of Browser security.
Media Measurement is going to be great for our Omniture customers, enabling them to analysis content playback much more easily. Let’s face it, it’s a feature for monetization, but that’s always good. Last year over 128Billion Megabytes were streamed through Flash Player, that’s 100% growth. So with this feature our customers will be able to get a much broader view of what’s going on during playback, helping to improve and monetize those experiences.
You can download the beta today.
Flash Player Inclubator
As you read above, this is part of our ongoing efforts to seed the community with bleeding edge technology. I like to think of it this way, HTML will be taking care of some of those slideshow and simpler web experiences, micro-sites, product data and maybe some basic video playback. This isn’t something that scares me, in fact it’s completely the opposite. Lets face it, the more HTML can take on, the more new innovations we can deliver with Flash.
I find the whole HTML5 and Flash argument quite amusing, anyone that’s old enough to remember how the web evolved will recognise that Flash was successful because it solved problems for our customers. So it makes sense (and it’s exciting) that it will evolve to solve new problems as HTML catches up, and we’re helping those technologies catch up.
- All of Flash Player 10.3
- 3D Rendering Pipeline “Molehill”
- more to come
Interestingly, the StageVideo api enables play back video on a hardware surface using an OpenGL (ES2.0)/Direct3D shader API to convert from YUV to RGB. It shouldn’t take you long to realise that Molehill uses the same apis for 3D rendering, thus enabled by Stagevideo.
Flash is so widely distributed now that we don’t have the option to simply cut off those users without GPUs or the correct drivers. So for these users we have a seamless fallback to a new component called SwiftShader, a Transgaming product of which Adobe is a licensee.
You can see some of the incredible work underway below:
Developer and/or Browser War
Finally, in case some of you didn’t notice, we’re in the middle of a browser war. Each of the major players (including Adobe) are working incredibly hard to drive innovation on the web, adding new features, increasing performance and fighting for territory.
This has unfortunately led to some adverse press attention being poured on Flash, one of the most talked about technologies of the past year. What’s important here is that we all keep a level head, listen to customers concerns, but always consider someones motivation for targeting Flash to gain press attention.
- March 11th – Mozilla, “Flash is Dead” (two days prior they released an RC build of Firefox 4),
- March 14th – Microsoft launches IE9 with hardware accelerated Flash integration as a feature
Net is, Flash is a product made successful by those who use it – that’s probably you. It’s not just a pile of 1′s and 0′s, it’s a complete ecosystem that is largely, and most successfully, presented within HTML It’s success has been driven by the Flash community creating incredible millions of pieces of content over the past decade, enabling online business and entertainment to thrive.
I have no doubt that HTML5 is going to be great for all of us, that includes Flash developers who will be free to create even more advanced forms of content on even more screens. That’s why I believe that Flash is the innovation engine for the web and digital experiences, the use cases may well change – but the reason for Flash existing won’t.
Yesterday at the Imagination stand we spotted Brendan Iribe from Scaleform, one of the most amazing SWF rendering engines available. I actually heard of Scaleform about three years ago through our Korean team, it’s taken this long for us to connect.
Above, you can see a 3D game using the Unreal engine and looking great. What’s interesting is that the control system, which floats in the air in 3d is actually created in Flash Professional. The power of the Scaleform tools means that these SWFs can be tessellated (vectors to triangles) and run directly within the 3D engine.
It just makes so much sense, why on earth wouldn’t they use Flash to create this type of UI? I’m also starting to wonder just how much more Flash content is created out there and played back on a “custom” SWF Player.
Update – Scaleform announced that they have been acquired by AutoDesk.
It’s Day 2 of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, and what a great start to the show. We have announced that Flash Player 10.1 is installed now on over 20 million devices, and AIR is available on 84 million. Those numbers are incredible, and well above expectations for the first six months after launch. In 2011 I predict that we’ll be looking at huge adoption curve throughout 2011 and I’ll be sure to update you as we grow the install base.
Most importantly, you have all been very busy it seems, with thousands of applications shipping across these devices and more to come.
The Blackberry Playbook is really becoming a hit with developers, everyone at the Blackberry events here is building something. We’re hearing great things from the community here, and this coming Friday we’ll have our yearly “AdobeDays” event at the Barcelona office. Let’s hope I make it until then!
Everyone on the stand has been hugely impressed with the device capabilities, and we’ve spent a lot of our time speaking with Java and Blackberry developers that are planning to create their first applications in Flash for the Playbook.
We saw the launch of the aptly named “Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1″, and the Galaxy S II – which has really stolen the show in terms of design. Here is Adobe’s David Whadhwani, SVP/GM Creative Interactive Solutions BU on stage at the Samsung launch and talking about the successful relationship that we’ve had with Samsung for years now.
David also take the opportunity to remind the audience about AIR 2.5 for TV, and Samsung’s commitment to delivering support for your applications across their latest ranges – and that includes BlueRay Players. Samsung are almost the definition of why we created the Open Screen Project, we’ll obviously be talking a lot more about these devices later this year.
It’s almost that time of year again, the Mobile World Congress 2011 is set to be an amazing event with all of the major OEMs, Operators, Chipset vendors and our Open Screen Project partners in attendance. Some 50,000 attendees from across the world descending on Barcelona, showing their new devices, services and Developer offerings.
This year we’re going to be meeting our various partners, and the Evangelism team will be presenting alongside RIM for the Blackberry developer day. We’re really excited to be working so closely with our partners, and I can’t say I’ll miss the alarms going off at the device bar
As always, we’re working with our Mobile and Devices Spanish User Group to hold an event following the show. This is our forth year running this event, and I’m happy to say that it has become a major part of our activities during the show. As with last year, we’re going to make this a Spanish language event as much as possible.
So if you can understand Spanish, and delivery content for the Iberic region, this is a great event to attend. I know that Marcos and Raul have worked really hard to bring you a range of speakers and topics, and there are not many tickets left – so sign up now!
09.45am Cross-platform application development: Synctur
11.30am HTML 5 for mobile: Maximiliano Firtman
12.15pm Usability/Productivity: Justinmind
13.00pm Meet the Playbook
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…