After months of betas and release candidates, the final bits of the Adobe Flash Player 10.1 (r53) are here. Flash Player 10.1 is much more than a minor update, it comes with a broad set of new features and capabilities. Chief among these is support for hardware acceleration for 2D and 3D graphics and for video playback. Flash Player 10.1 also touts improved memory management and better performance. Plenty of improvements have been made to the streaming video features.
“Today I'm thrilled to announce that Adobe Flash Player 10.1 is now available for Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems. You can get it now. Flash Player 10.1 for Android will be coming later this month - the beta release is currently available in the Android market,” Paul Betlem, Sr. director, Engineering at Adobe, announced.
From a technical perspective, the big announcement in Flash Player 10.1 is the hardware acceleration. It’s a very important feature especially for mobile or just underpowered devices. For example, Flash Player can defer the decoding of an H.264 video to the GPU, which is generally much better equipped for this than the CPU, leaving the processor to handle other, more general tasks. This results in better performance and power savings. The same is true for 2D and 3D hardware acceleration.
Better performance and memory management
The runtime itself has seen a lot of improvements in the performance department. Optimizations have made Flash Player 10.1 faster than any other previous releases, but also, and this is even more important, more efficient in memory management. Adobe says the latest update has a smaller memory footprint and also a couple of new tricks up its sleeve. For example, Flash Player can reduce the power consumption for content running in background tabs. In extreme cases, when the system memory is running out, it can shut down entirely.
Streaming video and private browsing
Another area that saw a lot of focus with the Flash Player 10.1 release is streaming video. There are several improvements and new features including support for peer-2-peer video, http streaming, smarter buffering, and so on.
Another handy feature is support for the private mode in the browser. When Flash Player 10.1 detects that the browser is running in private mode, which most modern browsers now support, it adjusts its behavior accordingly, for example, it won't store any cookies.
Multi-touch and Google Chrome integration
Finally, Flash Player 10.1 comes with support for multi-touch and accelerometers. This is especially important for mobile devices, but Adobe has opted for a single runtime on both desktops and mobile phones so the features are available cross-platform.
The stable release of Adobe Flash Player 10.1 is now available for download for everyone. Google Chrome users should already be getting it through the automated update system. The final build was already available in Google Chrome dev, for example. It also means that the next Google Chrome stable release should have support for the integrated plugin feature.
Adobe Flash Player 10.1 for Windows is available for download here.
Adobe Flash Player 10.1 for Mac is available for download here.
Adobe Flash Player 10.1 for Linux is available for download here.