Adobe Systems is poised to launch several key enhancements to its Adobe Flash platform in San Francisco this week at its MAX 2008 conference.
Any major upgrade to Flash is significant because 81 percent of worldwide online videos are viewed with Flash technology, making it the number-one format for video on the Web, according to comScore. Adobe's Flash Player is also installed on 98 percent of Internet-connected desktops and a growing number of mobile devices.
"Adobe Flash technology has empowered the developer community to revolutionize the Web and how we interact with it," said Adobe Vice President David Wadhwani. "The Adobe Flash platform continues to evolve, providing everything companies need to rapidly design and develop compelling business-critical applications, interactive Web content, and dynamic video that will reach users across the entire Web."
Parallel Work Flows
Flash has been tightly integrated with Creative Suite 4 -- Adobe's popular design and development software for handling creative work flows. Developers use the enhanced platform's upgraded tools, frameworks, clients and servers to develop Web applications, content and video that run consistently across operating systems and devices.
Available immediately in a preview release, the platform's Flex Builder upgrade provides designers with data-centric capabilities for creating rich Internet applications. Moreover, Flex Builder's capabilities are further enhanced by Flash Catalyst, which Adobe intends to release as a public beta in early 2009.
Previously code-named Thermo, Flash Catalyst will enable artwork from Creative Suite 4 to be imported with full fidelity and quickly converted into dynamic components such as buttons, scroll bars, and input fields. When used in tandem with Adobe Flex Builder, Flash Catalyst will enhance developer productivity by enabling design and development work to proceed in parallel.
Flash Catalyst will permit developers to publish projects that run outside the browser on multiple operating systems. Finished projects are published directly to Flash Player or Adobe's AIR run-time environment. The latest AIR 1.5 release features an encrypted database for storing data securely on customers' computers.
Collaboration with ARM
Adobe also announced it is collaborating with chipmaker ARM to optimize Adobe Flash Player 10 and Adobe AIR for electronic devices based on the latest ARM microprocessors, including smartphones. The joint effort, targeted for the v6 and v7 architectures used in the chipmaker's ARM11 and Cortex processors, is expected to be available in the second half of 2009.
"Both the Cortex and the ARM11 are just now starting to hit the chipmakers licensing ARM, so they are still in the sweet spot of their product life cycles," said iSuppli Senior Analyst Francis Sideco.
ARM and Adobe intend to deliver an optimized Adobe Flash Player 10 for the ARM architecture, together with industry-standard API support for GPUs and hardware accelerators. The collaborators also expect their joint effort will result in lower power consumption for mobile devices running Flash Player 10 and AIR content.
"The use case for something like what Adobe is doing is well defined," Sideco said. "So, for example, ARM can set up certain rules about what the processor is going to do and when -- such as shut down the processor duty cycle to help optimize the power."
The power saving is impossible to quantify without more information because it will be entirely "dependent on what they decide to do and how they do it," Sideco said. "But it could be 25 to 30 percent."
6 months ago