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Adobe Flash 10.1 brings GPU boost, smartphones

updated 07:55 am EDT, Mon October 5, 2009

Adobe unveils Flash 10.1 without iPhone

Adobe at its MAX show launched Flash 10.1, a major update to its plugin that promises video on devices that normally haven't been capable. The release adds hardware graphics acceleration on computers and should make HD Flash video possible on netbooks and ultraportables and standard definition possible on smartphones. NVIDIA already promises that its GeForce, Ion and Tegra chipsets will speed up the Flash update when available.

The 10.1 revision should also be the first official, non-Lite version of Flash intended for smartphones. Besides using hardware acceleration through platforms like Tegra, the platform is the first explicitly aware of touchscreens and can support multi-touch gestures as well as accelerometers for motion and screen auto-rotation.

Notably, Adobe says it has the cooperation of "19 out of the top 20" smartphone makers and has added the BlackBerry's creator, Research in Motion, to the Open Screen Project meant to bring Flash and other standard web technologies to many devices. Android, Symbian, webOS and Windows Mobile are also slated to get the software, Adobe said.

Demos have already been shown of Flash running in the Palm Pre's web browser with as many as three separate windows, while Toshiba's Windows Mobile-based TG01 can also run advanced Flash thanks in part to its 1GHz Snapdragon processor.

Public betas of Linux, Mac and Windows clients on desktop operating systems, as well as webOS and Windows Mobile devices, are due before the end of the year. Android and Symbian betas are due in early 2010, while the formal release of Flash 10.1 is due in the first half of 2010.

The lone exception among phone developers is likely to involve Apple, whose iPhone SDK policies prevent Adobe from installing a Flash plugin of its own or writing a stand-alone app with a code interpreter. Apple chief Steve Jobs has been receptive to the possibility of an official update to Safari with Flash inside but has said he would wait until there was an in-between product that would render a site properly, like desktop Flash, but have the battery-saving measures and lower performance overhead closer to Flash Lite. Flash 10.1 is the first release that might qualify, but neither Adobe nor Apple has discussed whether it will be an option on the iPhone platform.

by MacNN Staff



  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Let the bitchin' begin...

    It'll start with Apple and the iPhone failing miserably being the lone company that doesn't allow Flash and multi-tasking.

    It's nice the way the Pre handles multiple windows and multiple Flash instances but I would consider that a very minor capability I'd be happy to lose as long as I've got the App Store and iTunes content. I hear Flash sucks up a lot of power, so until Apple can improve battery time on its mobile platform, I'm willing to pass on Flash. That's just the breaks. I'm sure Apple will work something out in time.

  1. JulesLt

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Research . . .

    The Adobe site suggests that the mobile version of Flash contains mobile specific power management code that does not exist in the desktop version - specifically, SWFs are only executed when in the active window (reflecting, I guess, the way that phone systems do not tend to have many overlapping windows).

    This is similar to the limitations mobile WebKit puts on complex JavaScript apps - JavaScript also being an interpreted language.

    The question is whether Adobe are capable of delivering on their promise - the existing OS X and Linux versions of Flash suggest they have struggled in the past.

  1. thedude

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Look at the battery!!!!

    If you watch the battery indicator it starts out in the green almost full. And by the end of the video it is red and got what looks like very little charge. Which means that Flash is still sucking on Mobile devices. Or that the pre does not do a good job multitasking. As I don't have one. It would be interesting to know what the average person is seeing in battery life on the device. However this is not the first time I have seen a demo where by the end of the 3 minute movie the devices battery is almost completely drained.

    Just thought I would point that out.


  1. tpmchugh

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Is flash the same technology that makes MacNN almost impossible to read with pop-up ads and music on every page. If so, no thanks on the iphone.

  1. Flying Meat

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I sure hope they provide a way to turn it off for all content. I don't really need flash content on my phone. "Do not put that filth on me." - Antonio Banderas

  1. ggirton

    Joined: Dec 1969


    multitouch and accelerometer

    this is the very first version of flash with multi touch and accelerometer. Cool! I would definitely look for it to be on the mac tablet, where battery life will be longer than on the phone...

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