November 17th 2008 | Jens C Brynildsen
The news are in - Thermo becomes Flash Catalyst. Flash Player and AIR gets Hardware acceleration from ARM. On Adobe Labs, you can find the 64bit Flash Player for Linux, Cocomo and a new release of Pixel Bender. As we guessed some days ago, new versions of AIR and the Flash Media Server was announced and there's more to come.
We've always wondered why Adobe opt to announce so many new things at MAX. If they spread it out across an entire year instead of throwing it all out at once, they'd surely get more press coverage? Many annoncements at once also makes it hard to grasp what's important and today, TechCrunch misunderstood things. For some reason Erick Schonfeld thinks that it's a new thing for Adobe to talk about The Flash Platform? Adobe and the Community have referred to it as this for more than three years already, so it's odd that TechCrunch appears to have missed this (or maybe Adobe's reuse of old ideas that have me confused?).
Press policies aside - The name change for "Thermo" was expected and Flash Catalyst is a good sounding name. The program will act as the "catalyst" between designers and programmers, so there's some sense to it as well. We like it! Other sites mention Catalyst to be a TwoWay solution. We sure hope it is, but we're not holding our breath. As soon as the MAX sessions are available as video streams, we'll get to see the details.
Another thing we really like is the possibility of hardware acceleration of Flash and AIR. Announced today, this could be a game-changer when it comes to mobile and devices, but also other low-powered hardware such as set-top boxes, televisions, automotive platforms and personal media players. The ARM chips it's being talked about are the ARM11 family and the Cortex-A series of processors that are expected in the second half of 2009. ARM is not the only vendor looking at accelerating Flash, but they're definetly the largest. These chips will deliver high power for low watts, making them well suited for mobile devices. NVIDIA is also part of this partnership, ensuring that Adobe Flash technology takes full advantage of NVIDIA Tegra computer-on-a-chip solutions. Texas instruments are also on board with their OMAP 3 processors.
As we wrote 3 days ago, 1.5 is a maintenance release adding Flash Player 10 support and the latest version of the Webkit engine, but there's also now encryption for the database. What puzzles us a bit was the fact that this version was releleased to the general public today.
Given the amount of memory leaks and other issues with both the 1.0 and 1.1 release, it's odd that Adobe push this straight to the consumers without developer testing. Is it really that few AIR developers that no beta or pre-release is required? Or is this "straight to market without testing" a new trend from Adobe? Will be interesting to see. (See comment) Get the 1.5 version here.
This was previewed at the FlashForward conference by engineer Tinic Uro, but now it's available for public testing. Tinic has more info about the release here. There's been a lot of debate if there is a real need for this, but Adobe gave in and delivered. Users of 64 bit platforms have been able to use the standard 32bit Player, but it's surely been an annyance to fire up a special browser for something as common as Flash. While extremely small in numbers, 64bit Linux is something used by many developers and now Flash can address up to 16 exabytes of memory. We're not sure what we'll use all that for, but it's great to know that somebody can handle massive memory leaks from files that are only a few hundred Kb (if they should occur...)
FMS 3.5 can now toggle dynamically between streams based on the internat connection, record live streams to AAC/H264, play/pause/seek the video cache, easier deployment and new API methods that offers info about buffer detail, video dropped frames, round trip time, byte count, and current bytes per second. There's a lot to this release, so make sure you read Product Manager Kevin Towes article on the new features on DevNet.
Alchemy Toolkit Preview out on Adobe Labs
What will Adobe announce at MAX?
Stay current on what's happening in Flash business. Sign up now for the Flashzine newsletter.