Adobe Launches AIR 2.5 for TVs, Mobile, Tablets and Desktops

 
 
By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2010-10-25
 
 
 

Adobe Launches AIR 2.5 for TVs, Mobile, Tablets and Desktops


At its annual Adobe MAX developer conference, Adobe is making good on its promise to deliver its software to multiple screens by delivering the Adobe AIR 2.5 runtime for televisions, mobile devices and desktops.

Adobe is a leading sponsor of the Open Screen Project, whose goal is to enable consumers to engage with rich Internet experiences seamlessly across any device, anywhere.

At Adobe MAX 2010 in Los Angeles, Adobe Systems announced Adobe AIR 2.5 software for televisions, tablets, smartphones and desktop operating systems. A key element of the Adobe Flash Platform, AIR enables developers to leverage existing code to create and deliver stand-alone applications across devices and platforms.

In an interview with eWEEK, David Gruber, group product marketing manager for Flex and Flash Builder, said Adobe AIR now supports smartphones and tablets based on Android, iOS, BlackBerry Tablet OS, and desktops including Windows, Macintosh and Linux operating systems. In addition, Samsung will be the first television manufacturer to ship Adobe AIR in its line of Samsung SmartTV devices while Acer, HTC, Motorola, RIM, Samsung and others are expected to ship the runtime preinstalled on a variety of devices, including tablets and smartphones later this year and early 2011.

With Adobe AIR, developers are able to use familiar tools including Adobe Flash Professional CS5, Adobe Flash Builder and Flex to build rich stand-alone applications. Hundreds of them are already available on Android Market, Intel AppUp center and Apple's App Store today.

"Prior to this release, AIR has been used to run apps on the desktop, but AIR 2.5 is able to support mobile apps and TVs with common frameworks and common tools," Gruber said.

In addition to AIR 2.5, Adobe unveiled Adobe InMarket on Oct. 25. Adobe InMarket is a new service that allows developers to easily distribute and sell their applications on app stores across different device types from Acer, Intel and others. Adobe InMarket operates seamlessly in the background and allows end users to download applications directly from the storefront. For more information about Adobe InMarket, visit www.adobe.com/go/inmarket.

"Adobe InMarket solves the problem of developers getting into as many markets as they can," Gruber said. "Everybody wants to get into the app game. Adobe InMarket connects the dots and distributes apps to all the app stores and also takes care of the financials and the analytics. And it goes back and tells the developer where their stuff sold, etc. We expect to have 10 app stores connected by 2011."

"With the release of AIR 2.5, more than 3 million Flash developers can now build a single game or application and easily deploy it across multiple application stores and devices," said David Wadhwani, senior vice president, Creative and Interactive Solutions Business at Adobe, in a statement. "This is a huge step forward for developers looking to build rich, engaging applications but have historically had to incur the cost of building and deploying this content across multiple devices and platforms."

Rich Application Experiences


 

Moreover, Gruber said AIR 2.5 enables rich application experiences through a series of new features, including support for accelerometer, camera, video, microphone, multitouch and gestures. In addition, support for geo-location allows developers to create location-based applications and services.

AIR 2.5 is also able to display native browser controls within the application, allowing for the integration of HTML and .SWF content. With SQLite support, developers can easily store and cache databases inside an AIR application. In addition, hardware acceleration for Adobe AIR is enabled across all major silicon partners, including Broadcom, Intel, Nvidia, ST Micro, Trident, Texas Instruments and Qualcomm.

"The HTC Experience is centered on delighting our customers, and the addition of Flash Player 10.1 to many of our phones such as the Droid Incredible by HTC, HTC Evo4G and HTC Desire demonstrates this," said John Wang, chief marketing officer at HTC, in a statement.  "We are excited to be bringing a great phone experience and the collaborative results of the millions of AIR developers around the world into the hands of HTC's customers."

"As a longtime partner of Adobe, we are excited that users will have the opportunity to enjoy AIR applications and content on our devices," added Christy Wyatt, corporate vice president of software and services product management at Motorola, also in a statement. "Since July, we've announced eight Android-based smartphones with Flash Player 10.1 support, including the first phone with Flash out of the box. AIR 2.5 is the perfect complement to Flash Player, giving customers the freedom to choose between rich content experiences inside and outside the browser."  

Moreover, "The BlackBerry Tablet OS offers developers a highly optimized and flexible platform that integrates Adobe AIR with high-performance audio, video and graphics optimizations, as well as support for a WebView class and native C++ extensions," said Tyler Lessard, vice president of Global Alliances & Developer Relations at Research In Motion. "By building tight integration with Adobe tools into our BlackBerry Tablet OS SDK for Adobe AIR, developers are now able to optimize their applications for the tablet form factor and deliver an enhanced end-user experience. We are excited by the breadth of content that the development community will be able to deliver for the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet using our new development tools and AIR."

Already one of the top free apps on Android Market, with more than 50,000 users giving it a 4.5-out-of-5-star rating, Flash Player 10.1 brings rich Flash-based content to mobile devices inside the browser, Adobe officials said in a press release on the news. The runtime is now certified on nearly a dozen Android devices and will become available on dozens more over the coming weeks and months, the company said.

Adobe also announced that Flash Player 10.1 was downloaded more than 2 million times from Android Market. In addition to Android Market, the runtime is distributed directly by device manufacturers and operators via preinstalls and operating system upgrades. While Flash Player 10.1 is available on Android and Google TV today, also expected to support it are the BlackBerry platform, WebOS, future versions of Windows Phone, LiMo, MeeGo and Symbian OS. For a list of devices supported, visit http://www.adobe.com/flashplatform/supported_devices/smartphones.html

Meanwhile, Adobe also announced previews of developer tools that make the process of multiscreen development more streamlined, Gruber said. With new releases of Flash Platform tools including an AIR 2.5 software development kit (SDK), developers can build mobile and multiscreen applications for smartphones and tablets, while maximizing design and development productivity. An update to the open-source Flex framework provides developers with a common framework for building Web, desktop and now mobile applications. Developers can build stand-alone mobile Flex applications with the same ease and quality as on Web and desktop platforms. For details visit http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/flexsdk_hero/.

A preview release of Adobe Flash Builder adds capabilities for developers to build applications using familiar languages, components and tools, which help lower the cost of developing multiscreen applications. New features include creating and extending Flex applications for mobile devices, on-device debugging, coding tools to accelerate development and support for new Spark components in Flex.

Adobe AIR 2.5 and the Adobe AIR 2.5 SDK for Android and desktop operating systems including Windows, Macintosh and Linux are now available. Users of Android 2.2 "Froyo" devices can download Adobe AIR directly from Android Market. Adobe AIR 2.5 for BlackBerry Tablet OS and the Samsung Smart TV platform is expected to be available early 2011. A preview release of Flash Builder is available for download at http://www.adobe.com/go/flashbuilder_preview.

Gruber said new features added to the Flex and Flash tools include a new debugging preview and profile capability. There also is an emulator so developers can deploy and test apps in an identical environment or connect via a USB cable to test on the actual device. In addition, the new tooling features bidirectional workflow for Flash Catalyst so designers can work on an application's design and developers can code the application itself, and the two sides can pass the work in progress back and forth. Up until now that was a unilateral process, Gruber said.

However, "AIR 2.5 is the center of attraction here for this announcement," Gruber said. "Our agenda is clearly focused on mobile and multiscreen. The big story is AIR 2.5 on mobile."

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