updated 11:55 pm EST, Tue February 8, 2011
Supports 10.6, Private Browsing mode, more
Today's release of Adobe Flash Player 10.2.152.26 is considered final by Adobe, according to the company's Flash Team Blog, and ushers in a new level of hardware-accelerated video decoding in most modern Intel Macs -- including new privacy features, multi-monitor fullscreen support, improved sub-pixel rendering designed to make on-screen fonts clearer, native custom mouse cursors and other features. High-definition playback on supported Macs -- all models with a Nvidia GeForce 9400M or better, or discrete video cards of 128MB RAM or higher -- shows a dramatic reduction in CPU usage to play back 1080p Flash video, from 90 percent single-CPU use prior to hardware decoding down to less than 20 percent.
Adobe refers to the hardware acceleration support as Stage Video, and says that providers need only make a small change in their SWF player files, so performance improvements will not yet be widely seen until content hosts update. Most of the big-name video content web providers such as YouTube and Vimeo have already started implementing the changes. Support has also been added into Microsoft's upcoming Internet Explorer 9 for GPU rendering as well as being incorporated natively into Google Chrome.
The company has dropped all support for PowerPC-based players, including security updates, in a clear sign that the 10.1/10.2 releases are a "reference" release for Flash playback. Mac requirements now call for Intel Macs running 10.4 or higher, with support for most major browsers including Safari 4 and higher, Firefox 3 and higher, the aforementioned Google Chrome (v2 and higher), Opera 9.5 or later and AOL Desktop 1.0 or higher.
Product Manager Tom Nguyen also promised more information on mobile Flash and Adobe Air updates next week, at the Mobile World Congress.