Flash Player 11, the next major version of Adobe's near-ubiquitous browser plug-in, is now officially set for release in early October, the company said in a press release today. Adobe AIR (the runtime which allows Flash and other code to be run as desktop apps) will also be updated to version 3.

The press release details a few of Flash 11's new features, but there are two that are of particular interest to you, the discerning AnandTech reader: the first is GPU acceleration for 2D and 3D graphics, which is specifically designed to make Flash games run better (Flash's GPU acceleration was previously limited mostly to video). The second is 64-bit support under Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux, long a sticking point for users of 64-bit operating systems. As one of the modern Internet's most-used plug-ins, Flash carries a lot of weight, and I don't think I'm the first to link the absence of 64-bit Flash with the slow pace of 64-bit browser development and adoption.

Flash 11 promises to be an improvement over Flash 10.3 in many ways, but its competition is still stiff: the Unity Web Player is already driving 3D games in browser windows today, while the Silverlight plug-in also enables rich web content. Its most direct competition in the long run remains HTML5, which Apple (and soon, Microsoft) and others are pushing to enable rich content without the use of plug-ins

Source: Adobe

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  • quiksilvr - Wednesday, September 21, 2011 - link

    We were begging Adobe for years to improve flash. Within two years of Apple complaining about it, they have enabled:
    1. Hardware video decoding
    2. Multiple monitor full-screen support
    3. Impressive CPU and memory efficiency

    And now with 11, they finally (FINALLY) got 64-bit support. But it begs the question...why did it take Apple's pushing to do this?
  • Capt Caveman - Wednesday, September 21, 2011 - link

    B/c not only Apple but Google and Microsoft don't want to deal with Flash and looking to move away from it. It may be too late for Adobe.
  • B3an - Thursday, September 22, 2011 - link

    Google support Flash. They include it in there browser, they admit the web needs flash for certain things, many of there sites use it, and it's one of the bigger selling points for Android.

    Only a fool would think that HTML5 can completely replace Flash when it cant even do half of the things, and even when it can it often runs worse. Flash also gets new features every year, it will always remain ahead.

    And in the article it says:
    "the Unity Web Player is already driving 3D games in browser windows today"

    ...Unity 3D dev software will soon have Flash support. No one will use the Unity Web player when Flash can now do all this and is far more popular. This article also fails to mention that Flash Player 11 now has access to DirectX on Windows, and OpenGL on any other OS. It can literally do console level graphics in the browser, as anything DX/OpenGL can do, Flash can now do.
  • FaaR - Thursday, September 22, 2011 - link

    It won't matter how much flash can do, it's still destined for obsolescence because nobody except some flash developers and Adobe themselves really like it.

    Also, regardless how feature-packed it is, it'll always be an additional source of browser-crashing bugs and a vector for exploits (and Adobe has always been piss-poor at dealing with both of those), and millions of people will continue using ancient flash versions with severe glitches and gaping security holes for years to come.

    THAT is the legacy of Crap - er, sorry, Flash.
  • Bozzified - Saturday, September 24, 2011 - link

    Nonsense.. most people actually like Flash because it offers so many things.. Not only consumers for games and video but actually businesses too.

    Google supports flash FULLY because they know that HTML5 still can't replace Flash and won't for many years to come.

    Flash Player 11 and AIR 3.0 put Flash platform lightyears ahead of HTML5 again and are already becoming de-facto standard for awesome 3D games online and for mobile/tablets.

    Just look at Machinarium, the best selling game on iOS. Made completely in Flash.

    Only Apple fanboys and those developer who never learned Flash and are now hoping they will have more work with HTML5 are whining about Flash dying.

    The reality is that plugins have brought revolution to the web. And are absolutely needed to push the boundaries of HTML since W3C and web standards evolve at a snail pace. It took them 15 years to get HTML to the point of not being a mess and have changed 10 times the direction (XHTML, HTML, DHTML etc).

    Javascript the same. It took 10 years for us to get a proper cross-browser compatible JQuery and similar libraries.

    This is why plugins have a tremendous value and Flash is really the only ubiqutous plugin that pushes the boundaries with every single release.

    HTML5 and JS are nowhere near close to full 2D and 3D GPU acceleration. If you mention WebGL, I'm gonna burst from laughing.

    And let's not get into tools or lack there of from HTML5.

    It is great that HTML5 can now do some very basic things we had to use Flash and for that, it's a welcome addition, but now Adobe can concentrate on going forward and bringing even more advanced features, native apps and so on with Flash/AIR Platform and they are doing a KILLER job.

    Only an idiot would kill a superior technology on account of HTML5 just because it can do 30-40% of what Flash can.

    Tell me, if you think Flash should be done, than you almost certainly want h.264 to be out too right? Cause, h.264 is a proprietary technology/codec and even worse than Flash actually requires licensing in use.

    There is value in proprietary technologies. Just because something is open doesn't mean it's better.
  • realmike15 - Wednesday, September 21, 2011 - link

    I've given up on Flash at this point. HTML5 is so much more superior, it's just a matter of time. It's amazing how many problems are related to Flash when you look at the whole picture.

    There's no reason for Flash to continue, Adobe had their chance and instead they decided to err on the side of corporate greed instead of customer service. At this point, aside from Photoshop and Lightroom... I'm Adobe free.
  • Paul Tarnowski - Wednesday, September 21, 2011 - link

    God, I should charge Adobe extra for all the times I've had to go on a service call to clear out a virus that got in through Flash. Sure, the user shouldn't click on everything, but why the hell is flash so open to exploitation in the first place?

    No, the platform may not be on it's last legs, but it will be replaced. There's no way to avoid it. These improvements, though welcome, are just delaying the downfall.
  • Bozzified - Saturday, September 24, 2011 - link

    You got virus through Flash? What a bunch of bullshit. I have not heard a SINGLE person that got a virus through Flash. You are just a liar.
  • tenchymuyo2 - Sunday, September 25, 2011 - link

    I think there was only one instance of a virus through flash and it was an extremely minor one. SWF/LFM-926 came around when it was still called Macromedia Flash. Nowadays when Adobe puts out an update, sites like YouTube and others install it immediately and refuse access to users whose computers aren't likewise upgraded.

    Now there ARE those video boxes on sites (usually the naughty ones) that resemble a flash video but in reality are .exe files in disguise. Clicking those will certainly infect a system without warning.
  • erple2 - Thursday, September 22, 2011 - link

    Sounds like a grand idea. But there's just as many "problems" with HTML5 (though of a slightly different nature) - not all browsers support all of HTML5. And that includes mobile phones (arguably the market that's pushing HTML5).

    Looking at the current crop of browsers, none of them fully support HTML5. Some are better than others, but none are 100%. The ones that are closest to 100% (Chrome, Safari) I'm pretty sure aren't even close to being "supported", at least from the perspective of business in this country (given that the vast majority of businesses use IE - heck, my company still uses IE7 and 8, only just recently having switched off IE6, and we don't get admin rights to install a better browser - they even block the Chrome download page at the firewall).

    So you're just trading one set of problems for another... Until everyone uses a fully compliant HTML5 browser, it's going to remain Flash for the future.

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