updated 08:40 am EDT, Thu May 15, 2008
Adobe Flash 10 Beta
Adobe this morning launched a public beta version of Flash Player 10, the next major update to its web animation plugin. The upgrade, nicknamed Astro, is one of the most visually advanced yet and is the first version of Flash Player to support hardware acceleration from graphics chipsets. Animations can now have pixel shader-based filters that apply in real time and now supports 3D, including for controllable elements. The extra processing work also helps offload drawing tasks from the processor regardless of the actual demand, reducing the overall stress on the system.
The version 10 upgrade also brings a number of subtler features, including the option of variable-bitrate video that automatically drops quality to maintain constant playback. More advanced text layout is also part of the revamp.
Adobe is launching the Flash Player 10 beta as a cross-platform plugin available now for most Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows browsers; requirements are the same as for Flash Player 9, though the company warns that Mac OS X 10.1 is no longer supported. The new beta also supports Ubuntu Linux.