Adobe Systems on Thursday released AIR 2, upgrading the features and aspirations for the software foundation.
Adobe has had some significant successes with AIR. It is installed on "nearly 300 million desktop computers," Adobe said. It's used for applications including the Tweetdeck's software for bringing some order to the chaos of Twitter, Facebook, and Buzz; a New York Times reader with a built-in crossword puzzle; and an interface to 120 years' worth of National Geographic issues.
Adobe expects AIR 2 will help, though. Among its new features, according to Adobe:
Diminished memory and processing demands.
Better networking features, for example supporting the newer IPv6 Internet standard or enabling multiplayer games that need chat.
Support for modern Web standards such as CSS3's transforms and HTML5's Canvas 2D graphics.
Better control over printing.
The ability to integrate with applications running natively on a computer.
Better hardware support including multitouch interfaces, printer control, USB drive detection, and microphone recording.
AIR 2 also benefits from the improvements in Flash Player 10.1, also released Thursday.
Flash is at the center of a debate between Apple and Adobe, with Apple deriding it as an insecure, battery-draining, unstable technology and Adobe criticizing Apple's heavy-handed controls over developer choices. Adobe is working to make Flash--and therefore AIR as well--better on Macs, though, in part through taking advantage of some hardware acceleration features. Through a project called Gala, Adobe also is working on some video decoding improvements made possible after Apple opened up an interface to take advantage of hardware acceleration.
"It is expected that the Gala functionality--H.264 hardware decoding on Mac OS X 10.6.3--will be available in an update following the release of Flash Player 10.1," Adobe said of that project.
Updated 8:02 a.m. PDT with further details on hardware acceleration plans on Mac OS X.