Full hardware-accelerated rendering for 2D and 3D graphics enable 1,000 times faster rendering performance over Flash Player 10 and AIR 2. -Adobe Release
This 1000x performance leap comes from a project that's been cooking in Adobe Labs called "Stage3D" which renders hundreds of thousands of z-buffered triangles (at 60Hz) instead of the measly thousands that were rendered (unbuffered at 30Hz) in older versions of Flash.
Adobe thinks that game graphics along with the digital rights management of those games (so developers get paid) will keep Flash relevant in a web environment where HTML5 is starting to do most of the heavy lifting.
Most of the buzz out there was calling the Windows 8 Metro news around plugins a deathknell for Flash, but people forget that the Metro is just one optional way to run the Windows 8 desktop. A majority of people will probably use the more familiar Windows desktop, which will allow plugins. Adobe also expects that Flash applications will find there way into Metro the same way they did for the iOS - through the AIR runtime.
AIR also has some neat new features in version 3. Both AIR 3 and Flash Player 11 will be released in October. Here is the feature list from Adobe:
- Accelerated 2D/3D Graphics: Full hardware-accelerated rendering for 2D and 3D graphics enable 1,000 times faster rendering performance over Flash Player 10 and AIR 2. Developers are able to animate millions of objects with smooth 60 frames per second rendering and deliver console-quality games on Mac OS, Windows and connected televisions. A pre-release brings these same accelerated 2D and 3D capabilities to mobile platforms including Android, Apple iOS and BlackBerry Tablet OS. A production release for mobile platforms is expected in the near future. For examples of 3D games for Flash Player, visit www.adobe.com/go/gaming.
- AIR Native Extensions: With support for thousands of highly-optimized, open-source libraries, developers are able to tap into unique software and hardware capabilities including access to device data, vibration control, magnetometers, light sensors, dual screens, near field communications (NFC) and more. Native extensions also allow developers to more deeply integrate AIR applications with other business software.
- Captive Runtime: Developers can automatically package AIR 3 with their applications to simplify the installation process on Android, Windows and Mac OS in addition to Apple iOS. Users no longer have to download and update AIR separately on any of these platforms, or BlackBerry Tablet OS, which includes AIR built in. In addition, with the captive runtime option developers can manage version updates to their application independent of general AIR updates by Adobe.
- Content Protection: Premium video content can now be protected using Adobe Flash Access® 3 across all supported platforms, including new support for mobile platforms.
- HD Video Quality Across Platforms: Full frame rate HD video can now be displayed within AIR applications on Apple iOS devices using H.264 hardware decoding. Rich applications on televisions are also able to deliver HD video with 7.1 channel surround sound.
- Rental and Subscriptions Support: With support for Adobe Flash Access and Adobe Pass, content publishers can take advantage of rental and subscription options for more flexible business models and offer TV Everywhere content to more than 80 percent of U.S. pay TV subscribers.
- Compatibility: 64-bit support on Linux, Mac OS and Windows ensures a seamless experience with the latest 64-bit browsers.