The love-hate relationship that millions of computer geeks around the world have with Flash is about to change. Flash Player has gotten a makeover and released its version 11. The widely-used browser plug-in from Adobe got an overhaul, undoubtedly due to threats to its monopoly from rapidly-growing web standards competitors like HTML5, Silverlight and Java FX. Web standards coming to market is the only threat to Flash’s supremacy though, Adobe’s brainchild has also been locked out of iOS devices and has only a small foothold with Android.
With this new release of Flash Adobe seems to be forgetting the iOS lockout and other cellphone and tablet platforms, and instead is targeting high-end technology — specifically within gaming, high-end video, in-house application building and the growing 64-bit world.
Here are some of the few, besides the many note-worthy, feature of Flash Player 11 →
In order to attract gamers and other high-end users Adobe is upgrading Flash to a 64-bit design. This decision came after Microsoft recently discovered that many 64-bit users are surfing the web plug-in-free seeing as most 32-bit plug-ins do not work on a 64-bit system anyhow.
A new feature designed to attract gamers, in a big way, is Flash’s new Molehill interface. This new interface is aimed at hardware-accelerated 3D graphics. Not-so-coincidentally Flash recently got the nod from Unity3D, a commonly-used cross-platform gaming engine, and Flash users can now build Unity apps. This new 3D-focussed update will hopefully reserve a place for Flash in the gaming culture.
JPEG XR Capabilities
Microsoft’s newest JPEG technology JPEG XR has become an international standard and as usual, Adobe is right behind them. Flash 11 is leveraging JPEG XR for better compression as Adobe can use XR to utilize transparent image areas for smaller file size while improving overall color quality.
Flash went haywire to improve their codecs, primarily in the area of communications and telephony. For video support, now not only can Flash decode H.264 video, it can also encode it — something that should be handy for webcams. In terms of audio codecs Flash 11 now uses the G.711 codec for improved telephony.