Adobe will on Tuesday release developer betas of Flash Player 10.1 for the web and AIR 2 for the desktop. Both runtimes are to be released to the public in the oh-so-very narrow and specific time frame of “the first half of 2010.” Key to plans for the next year is compatibility on netbooks and smartphones — first up for Adobe is full Flash functionality on x86-based netbooks, then the Palm OS, then Android. RIM has also said it will bring Flash to BlackBerries in 2010, and AIR is also due for mobile later next year.
A side benefit of these mobile optimizations is that Flash on Windows desktop will in turn get hardware decoding of H.264 video
and graphic acceleration, said Tom Barclay, senior product marketing manager, Adobe Flash Platform. Adobe has also added support for multitouch and gestures for both phones and Windows 7. Update: Some mobile devices will also get graphics acceleration; it is not available for PCs.
There are also neat new features like microphone access from within Flash — so developers can access binary data from wave forms from a computer’s microphone and manipulate them. Guess what that means? Opportunities for developers to create in-Flash Auto-Tune and karaoke. (Whoo!)
Also, as expected, the beta will support client-side file based encryption, HTTP streaming, in-browser DRM and improved buffering — though those will be more fully appreciated as we get closer to the actual product releases and developers are making things for real audiences.
Somewhat left out of this push is televisions, which can only get Flash Lite for now, but Barclay said to expect fuller support later next year.