Adobe Outlines Future Of Flash Player And AIR

Adobe has been a leading player in creating tools for Web content creation for the past decade with Flash Player. With the emergence of HTML5 and other similar technologies, Adobe has to refocus their...
Adobe Outlines Future Of Flash Player And AIR
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  • Adobe has been a leading player in creating tools for Web content creation for the past decade with Flash Player. With the emergence of HTML5 and other similar technologies, Adobe has to refocus their strategy on what Flash will mean two or three years from now.

    Adobe did just that today with the release of a roadmap for the future of Flash Player and AIR The white paper contains some interesting points on how Adobe will be changing the role of Flash when it comes to Web content.

    Right from the beginning, Adobe concedes that Flash isn’t the only player in town anymore when it comes to creating content on the Web. They recognize the rise of HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript and other technologies as competitors. While they feel that Flash will continue to be a primary tool for Web creation, they say that what Flash is used for will change.

    The company says that they will be focusing on what Flash is best at doing – creating games and displaying high quality video. While Flash can be used for other applications, Adobe will be focusing all of their efforts on these two areas.

    Speaking on gaming first, Adobe boasts that Flash is the platform of choice for the creation of gaming content for the Web. They feel that as browser-based games become more complex, Flash will be able to keep up with changes in technology faster than their competitors. The company then lists the reasons why they feel Adobe is best suited for browser-based gaming:

    Near universal reach on the desktop via the Flash Player browser plug-in, and on mobile devices via Adobe AIR

    Ability to quickly add new features and make them available to the widest audience

    Fully hardware-accelerated 2D and 3D rendering support that provide console quality graphics

    Rich gaming developer ecosystem

    Robust, object-oriented programming language

    World-class creative and developer tooling including Adobe Flash Builder, Adobe Flash Professional, Adobe Photoshop, and Adobe Illustrator

    With Flash, Adobe says that game developers will be able to reach 99% of personal computers. They also say that developers can use Adobe AIR to reach 500 million portable device owners. With that in mind, Adobe lays out their plans for the future of game development using Flash. They plan to offer a formalized game developer program and game services. The most exciting thing for game developers, however, is that Adobe will be adding official support for C and C++ code for Flash based games.

    Flash is more well known for its video content delivery and Adobe knows it all too well. Flash will be expanded to cover current online video needs, but also those of expanding markets like smartphones and tablets. Their current plans for Flash video are as follows:

    Bringing Adobe’s video streaming and content protection technology to more platforms in native formats

    Supporting the needs of premium content owners

    Closer collaboration with hardware vendors to provide high-performance quality experiences

    Adobe believes that Flash has a number of fundamental and unique advantages for video:

    Single and consistent player and codec support across browsers, platforms, and operating systems

    Support for content protection (single DRM), which enables premium video content to be licensed for online distribution

    Mature, full-featured, proven solution that provides a “mission critical” video platform for premium content owners, including support for ad insertion and analytics

    Adobe then goes on to lay out their technology roadmap for various products. The first of which is Adobe AIR which they said used to suffer from Flash Player getting updates first and then AIR getting those same updates at a later date. They want to move towards getting out updates to both Flash Player and AIR at the same time so both runtimes can be on the same level.

    Flash Player 11.2 will be launching in the first quarter of 2012. With the release, Adobe plans on adding new functionality like mouse-lock support, right and middle-click support, context menu disabling, hardware accelerated gracphics, stage 3D support for iOS and Android via Adobe AIR, support for more video cards, new Throttle event API, and multithreaded video decoding for desktops.

    Adobe has the future of Flash Player already laid out as well with planned releases of “Cyril,” “Dolores” and “Next.” Some of the features in these future releases include keyboard input support for full-screen mode, new APIs that will boost performance and updates to the ActionScprit language.

    Flash Player “Next” will be the big release for Flash Player in 2013 that will update everything about the player to keep it relevant to developers over the next five to 10 years.

    Flash support will continue on for all operating systems and mobile platforms as usual. The only major change is how Flash support will be continued on Linux.

    Adobe detailed their plans with Google to provide a single API that will host plug-ins for Chrome. After the release of Flash Player 11.2, further updates will only be available from Google on Linux-based machines. Adobe has also dropped support for Adobe AIR on Linux machines.

    Adobe also said that Flash Player 11.1 is the last release of the player for mobile browsers. They will continue to provide bug fixes, but leave any further improvements up to source-code licensees. Adobe will now devote all mobile development towards AIR.

    Finally, Adobe announced support for Flash-based video and gaming on future smart TVs. They will release Adobe AIR for TVs as well as an HTML application that will use Flash Player to playback video content.

    With the reveal of their roadmap, do you see Adobe staying around as a major player in the web content creation industry? Or is HTML5 going to dethrone Adobe? Let us know in the comments.

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