Adobe launches faster, fitter Flash 10.1


Adobe has officially launched its new Flash Player for Windows, Mac and Linux, with a new version for Android coming later in the month.

Of course, iPhone users will miss out on the advantages of Flash Player 10.1 due to the ongoing rift between Apple and Adobe.

Those who do get their hands on the new Adobe product, which had previously been available in beta form, will get to enjoy improved speed and reduced power consumption.

The Adobe development team has cut the amount of memory used at runtime, while the ActionScript virtual machine has had some targeted optimisations and the garbage collector has been modified for more efficient resource management.

A number of new features seek to help intensive multitaskers, with one that automatically shuts down Flash Player when memory is running low.

Another addition automatically cuts power consumption for content running in the background on a hidden browser tab, thereby improving performance for multitasking users.

As for video, desktop users will get to enjoy hardware-based H.264 video decoding to provide high quality video with minimised overhead, Adobe said.

Improvements to Real Time Messaging Protocol streaming and buffering features will also greatly enhance the video experience for the end user, the firm said, while a new addition called Smart Seek will allow for simple rewind or fast forward video without Flash Player calling back to the server. This will cut the start time once a user has skipped to a different section of the video.

In a bid to tap into the touch screen market, Adobe Flash Player 10.1 incorporates new APIs supporting pinch, scroll, rotate, scale and two-finger tap gestures, allowing for greater interaction.

While some Apple products may not be able to support Flash, Adobe developers have been working with the Safari team on "significant changes" to the new version for Macs.

"One improvement we made is the use of a double-buffered OpenGL context for improved full screen playback efficiency," said Paul Betlem, from the Flash Player engineering team, in a blog post.

Adobe also explored a number of optimisations using Xcode, a Mac OS X software development tool suite, to improve the execution speed of Flash Player on Macs.

"Flash Player 10.1 is more than a 'dot upgrade.' It was a monumental undertaking including some significant architectural improvements and a long list of enhancements that will help the more than 3 million Flash designers and developers continue to move web innovation forward," Betlem added.

Adobe has also released a fix for the critical Flash Player vulnerabilities that emerged earlier this month. The company has recommended that users upgrade to Adobe Flash Player

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.