updated 04:35 pm EDT, Thu June 10, 2010
Mac version may be most significant
Months in development, Adobe has finally released Flash Player 10.1, a major update of its web media plugin. The software makes a host of changes, most notably the inclusion of GPU hardware acceleration, which can speed up rendering of overlays, filters and other effects. Developers can also use 3D effects, and custom real-time ones created with Pixel Bender.
Other upgrades include support for dynamic quality during video streaming, dynamic sound generators, and upload/download functions in web apps. Many changes are oriented more towards developers, such as color correction, complex text layouts, easier shape drawing tools and a new voice codec. The Mac download is 7.44MB, and requires Safari, Firefox or Opera running in Mac OS X 10.4 or later. Releases are also available for Windows and Linux systems.
The Mac release may be the most important of the three, as Adobe's plugin has regularly had problems with performance and stability on the platform. In explaining why Flash is not on iOS devices, Apple CEO Steve Jobs recently claimed that the technology is the "number one reason Macs crash," and a general threat to security. A mobile version of Flash Player 10.1 should nevertheless be ready in the second half of the year.