Adobe breathes fresh AIR 2.5 into apps for the TV

26 Oct 2010

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The march towards TV apps is continuing apace, with Adobe revealing Adobe AIR 2.5 software for televisions, tablets and desktop operating systems. Samsung will be the first TV manufacturer to deploy the software.

A key element of the Adobe Flash Platform, AIR enables developers to leverage existing code to create and deliver standalone applications across devices and platforms.

Adobe AIR now supports smartphones and tablets based on BlackBerry Tablet OS, Android, iOS and desktops, including Windows, Macintosh and Linux operating systems.

Samsung will be the first television manufacturer to integrate support for Adobe AIR 2.5 in Samsung SmartTVs while Acer, HTC, Motorola, RIM, Samsung and others are expected to ship the runtime pre-installed on a variety of devices, including tablets and smartphones later this year and early 2011.

Apps markets

With Adobe AIR, developers are able to use familiar tools, including Adobe Flash Professional CS5, Adobe Flash Builder and Flex to build rich standalone applications.

Hundreds of apps are already available on Android Market, Intel AppUp centre and Apple’s App Store today.

“The HTC Experience is centred 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, HTC Corporation.

“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.”

In addition to AIR 2.5, Adobe also unveiled Adobe InMarket, a new service that allows developers to easily distribute and sell their applications across different device types on app stores 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, visit Adobe InMarket.

“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, Adobe.

“This is a huge step forward for developers looking to build rich, engaging applications but who have historically had to incur the cost of building them separately for each device and platform.”

AIR 2.5 enables rich application experiences through a series of new features, including support for accelerometer, camera, video, microphone, multi-touch and gestures. Support for geolocation 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 Corporation, Intel, NVIDIA, ST Microelectronics, Trident, Texas Instruments, Qualcomm and others.

“As a longtime partner of Adobe, we are excited that users will have the opportunity to enjoy AIR applications and content on our devices,” said Christy Wyatt, corporate vice-president, software and services product management, Motorola.

“Since July, we’ve announced seven 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.”

Flash Player 10.1

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. The runtime is now certified on close to a dozen Android devices and will become available on dozens more over the coming weeks and months.

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 pre-installs and operating system upgrades.

Flash Player 10.1 is available on Android and Google TV today, with BlackBerry platform, HP webOS 2.0, future versions of Windows Phone, LiMo, MeeGo, and Symbian OS also expected to support Flash Player 10.1.

“The BlackBerry Tablet OS offers developers a highly optimised and flexible platform that integrates Adobe AIR with high- performance audio, video and graphics optimisations, as well as support for a WebView class and native C++ extensions,” says Tyler Lessard, VP Global Alliances & Developer Relations, Research In Motion.

“By building tight integration with Adobe tools into our BlackBerry Tablet OS SDK for Adobe AIR, developers are now able to optimise 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.”

Adobe AIR 2.5 and the Adobe AIR 2.5 SDK for Android and desktop operating systems including Windows, Macintosh and Linux have been available since yesterday.

The BlackBerry Tablet OS SDK for Adobe AIR, which works with the Adobe AIR 2.5 SDK to create applications for the BlackBerry Tablet OS, is available today from RIM while the runtime is expected to ship preloaded on the BlackBerry PlayBook. For more details and to download the SDK visit the Adobe website. Users of Android 2.2 “Froyo” devices can download Adobe AIR directly from Android Market today. A preview release of Flash Builder is available for download at Adobe.com.

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com