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AppleInsider | Flash, HTML5 comparison finds neither has performance advantage March 11, 2010

Posted by hruf in Internet & Communities, Multimedia.
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A comparison of streaming video via the Adobe Flash and HTML5 formats with numerous different browsers on both Mac and Windows produced wildly different results based on the operating system and browser, making neither a clear winner.

The test, from Streaming Learning Center, was conducted in response to recent comments alleged to have been said by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, in which he reportedly called Flash a “CPU hog.” While the test found that HTML5 is significantly more efficient than Flash on the Mac when running the Safari Web browser, those same advantages do not exist on other Mac browsers, or in Windows.

“It’s inaccurate to conclude that Flash is inherently inefficient,” author Jan Ozer wrote. “Rather, Flash is efficient on platforms where it can access hardware acceleration and less efficient where it can’t. With Flash Player 10.1, Flash has the opportunity for a true leap in video playback performance on all platforms that enable hardware acceleration.”

The report noted that Apple has not enabled the hooks to allow GPU-based acceleration for H.264 video decoding. Anand Lai Shimpi, founder of AnandTech, asserted “it’s up to Apple to expose the appropriate hooks to allow Adobe to (eventually) enable that functionality.”

Adobe’s update to Flash 10.1 on the Mac improved CPU efficiency within Safari by 5 percent, but the Web format still trails far behind HTML5 due to hardware acceleration. With Google Chrome, neither were particularly efficient, and Firefox saw slightly better performance than Chrome.

Flash test 1

On Windows, Apple’s Safari browser doesn’t play HTML 5 content. But the Google Chrome browser in Windows played Flash 10.1 content with 58 percent more efficiency than HTML5.

HTML5 is not natively supported in Firefox or Internet Explorer, but the update from Flash 10 to Flash 10.1 improved CPU performance for the browsers by 73 percent and 35 percent, respectively. Flash 10.1 in Windows offers added hardware acceleration.

“When it comes to efficient video playback, the ability to access hardware acceleration is the single most important factor in the overall CPU load,” Streaming Learning Center noted. “On Windows, where Flash can access hardware acceleration, the CPU requirements drop to negligible levels.

“It seems reasonable to assume that if the Flash Player could access GPU-based hardware acceleration on the Mac (or iPod/iPhone/iPad), the difference between the CPU required for HTML5 playback and Flash playback would be very much narrowed, if not eliminated.”

Flash test 2

Google added support for the most popular video destination on the Internet, YouTube, in January. The beta opt-in program is available only for browsers that support both HTML5 and H.264 video encoding.

Scrutiny over Flash has grown in recent months since Apple introduced its multimedia iPad device, which does not support the Web format from Adobe. Apple, instead, has placed its support behind HTML5.

For more on why Apple isn’t likely to add support for Flash in the iPhone OS, read AppleInsider’s three-part Flash Wars series.

via AppleInsider | Flash, HTML5 comparison finds neither has performance advantage.

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Adobe Releases Flash Player 10.1 And AIR 2.0 – Both Include Multi-touch Support November 17, 2009

Posted by pannet in Multimedia, Programming.
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A mere week after Adobe Systems reported that it would be shedding nearly 700 employees or 9% of its total worldwide workforce, the company is releasing two highly anticipated new products that have been in the works for a while: Flash Player 10.1 and AIR 2.0.

Both of the products are being released with a ‘beta’ label at the same time for all 3 major operating systems (Windows, Mac and Linux) and x86-based netbooks, and are available now via Adobe Labs.

The links to the products are now live: Flash Player and AIR.

People who were still hoping for a beta release of the new Flash Player for mobile will be somewhat disappointed by the fact that they’ll have to exercise even more patience.

But first things first.

Both the new Flash Player for desktop browsers and the latest iteration of the rather popular cross-platform runtime environment for desktop apps were announced in the beginning of October and previewed at the recent Adobe MAX 2009 event (see video below). That means there aren’t too many surprises left with regards to what the upgraded versions bring, so we’ll just give you a quick run-down.

Both Adobe AIR 2 and Flash Player 10.1:

– boast support for multi-touch and gestures (yes, you’d need a machine with a touch screen)
– include a global error handler, which enables devs to write a single handler to process all runtime errors
– (finally) support local microphone access, so you’ll no longer need to first pass through a server in order to record audio locally on both Flash Platform runtimes

Adobe Flash Player 10.1 now also leverages hardware decoding of H.264 video on Windows PCs, netbooks and mobile devices.

Want all that goodness on your mobile phone, too? Hold your horses: while a public beta of Adobe Flash Player 10.1 for Palm webOS is expected later this year, Google Android support is expected no sooner than early 2010, and support for Blackberry smartphones will likely take even more time to be added.

Also new in Adobe AIR 2.0 and worthy of a mention:

– Native process API: enables apps to communicate with native applications on local machines
– Mass storage device detection: plug in your Flip camera or that USB stick you got as a gift at the last conference you attended, and AIR 2 applications will be able to detect them
– Open document API: with it, AIR apps can ‘ask’ the OS what the default application is associated with files and function accordingly
– Improved socket support: think AIR-powered local servers and P2P apps
– Speedier WebKit: updated version that includes a faster JavaScript engine and new HTML5/CSS3 capabilities

via Adobe Releases Flash Player 10.1 And AIR 2.0 – Both Include Multi-touch Support.

AIR 2.0 Coming Soon: Multitouch, Audio Recording, Less Memory October 31, 2009

Posted by hruf in Uncategorized.
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Microblogging clients, media players, news tickers and more built on Adobe’s popular Rich Internet App framework AIR will soon become a lot more powerful and efficient.

Version 2.0 of AIR will hit Adobe Labs later this year and be available for everyone in the first half of 2010, the company said this week. A good list of new features were blogged about by Adobe’s Christian Cantrell yesterday and below are a few of our favorites.

mlbair.jpgAIR has a whole lot of potential but a number of shortcomings have mitigated the impact it’s made to date, especially the fact that AIR apps tend to be memory hogs. To see what kinds of apps are being built in AIR, check out the now mothballed but still useful 3rd party site RefreshingApps or the official Adobe AIR showcase.

Here’s what we can look forward to for AIR 2.0.

Multitouch and Gestures

Mac users with multitouch hardware can already perform multitouch actions in AIR apps today, but this feature will be available for Windows users in the next version of AIR. Both Windows 7 and Mac users will get new support for gestures like press and tap, pan, zoom, swipe and rotate.

Think the design-savvy developers of the AIR world can come up with some awesome things to do with these new gestures? We suspect they will.

Local Audio Encoding

“Access audio data directly from the microphone,” Cantrell writes, “You used to have to send the data to a server and access it from there, but now you can do it entirely on the client.” With this increase in efficiency, we expect to see more AIR apps utilize audio. An AIR podcast recording app? That’s an obvious idea, we’ll see what else people come up with.

Improved Memory Use

AIR apps are memory expensive, that’s probably the single biggest complaint about them. Cantrell says that AIR 2.0 will have lower CPU utilization when idle and lower memory consumption in general. That’s great news. If Adobe can really pull this off and make dramatic cuts to AIR’s memory requirement then AIR apps are going to see a big increase in adoption.

The New York Times for example, one of the most new-media capable old-school institutions in the US, recently asked its staff to stop using the AIR app Tweetdeck because it’s such a memory hog. That’s probably one of the reasons why Times staff appears to be posting to Twitter less these days.

AIR apps can offer a compelling user experience outside the browser but across computing platforms. We’ve had high hopes for AIR for a long time. These and other improvements could help AIR deliver on more of that promise.

Hopefully 2.0 won’t be too long in coming.

via AIR 2.0 Coming Soon: Multitouch, Audio Recording, Less Memory.

Adobe Shows Off Flash Apps For iPhone. Yes, You Read That Right. October 5, 2009

Posted by hruf in Uncategorized.
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Never say never: Adobe Labs is today showing off a couple of Flash applications for the iPhone/iPod Touch platform at its annual Adobe MAX event.

A couple of demo applications made by third-party developers are already available on the Apple App Store and are built using the brand new Flash Professional CS5, of which a public beta with pre-release support for building applications for iPhone is planned for later this year.

You can sign up here if you want to be notified when the beta kicks off for real.

Basically, Flash Pro CS5 allows developers to use Flash technologies to develop content for iPhone and iPod Touch devices that were previously closed to them.  The Flash developer tool converts Flash apps into ones that can work on the iPhone, since the iPhone still does not support Flash.  So this is a workaround.  But developers can write new code or reuse existing web content to build applications for the devices, and because the source code and assets are reusable across the Flash Platform runtimes (Adobe AIR and Flash Player) it is aimed to also give developers a way to more easily target other mobile and desktop environments.

Note that this does not mean you’ll be able to watch Flash-based web content on your iPhone just yet:

The new support for iPhone applications in the Flash Platform tooling will not allow iPhone users to browse web content built with Flash technology on iPhone, but it may allow developers to repackage existing web content as applications for iPhone if they choose to do so.

Flash Player uses a just-in-time compiler and virtual machine within a browser plug-in to play back content on websites. Those technologies are not allowed on the iPhone at this time, so a Flash Player for iPhone is not being made available today.

Flash Professional CS5 will enable developers to build applications for iPhone that are installed as native applications. Users will be able to access the apps after downloading them from Apple’s App Store and installing them on iPhone or iPod Touch.

More information is available here and soon, also here.

via Adobe Shows Off Flash Apps For iPhone. Yes, You Read That Right..

Decoding the HTML 5 video codec debate July 6, 2009

Posted by Matthias Kiefer in Internet & Communities, Multimedia.
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The HTML 5 video element has the potential to liberate streaming Internet video from plugin prison, but a debate over which codec to define in the standard is threatening to derail the effort. Ars takes a close look at the HTML 5 codec controversy and examines the relative strengths and weaknesses of H.264 and Ogg Theora. […]

In an article last month, we explored the challenges and opportunities associated with the HTML 5 video element. One of the most significant of these challenges is the lack of consensus around a standard media codec, a contentious issue that has rapidly escalated into a major controversy. The debate has now stalled without a clear resolution in sight.

The HTML 5 working group is split between supporters of Ogg Theora and H.264. Their inability to find a compromise that is acceptable to all stakeholders has compelled HTML 5 spec editor Ian Hickson to “admit defeat” and give up on the effort to define specific codecs and media formats in the standard itself. This is problematic because the lack of uniform codec availability will make it impossible for content creators to publish their videos in a single format that will be viewable through the HTML 5 video element in all browsers. […]

Read the whole article at Decoding the HTML 5 video codec debate – Ars Technica.

What Went Wrong With Joost? July 1, 2009

Posted by pannet in Internet & Communities, Multimedia.
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Joost, a much-vaunted online video startup, today announced that it will offer a white-label video hosting platform, thus entering a crowded market littered with the carcasses of other failed video hosts. The company is also losing its famous chief executive, Mike Volpi, whom it’s replacing with Matt Zelesko, the current vice president of engineering. And it plans to cut a portion of its workforce – between 70 to 90 according to Advertising Age.It also shut down its office in the Netherlands. […]

It had everything going for it, including:

  • Successful, Celebrity Founders
  • Proven Technology
  • Substantial Funding
  • Incredible Buzz
  • Big, Famous Partners

So what went wrong?

  • Too Big, Too Fast
  • Too Geographically Spread Out
  • Not Enough Focus
  • Too Much Hype Too Soon
  • Slow to Fix Its Technology Problems
  • Client vs. Browser
  • Didn’t Press Its Early-Mover Advantage
  • Big Media Dis-Connect
  • Too Many Internal Problems
  • Hulu
  • Chasing Its Own Tail

Read the full article for details on the above and weep a bit 😉

via What Went Wrong With Joost?.

Flash 10 for Android June 23, 2009

Posted by andre in Internet & Communities, Mobile & Gadgets.
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On Adobe’s earnings call last week, chief executive Shantanu Naraye said his company will introduce version 10 of its Flash multimedia player for Android this October at Adobe MAX 2009. This comes on the heals of handset manufacturer Sony Ericsson’s announcement that it will release its first Android 2.0 handsets with “more multimedia capabilities” the same month.

The significance is that Android developers will build better-performing apps, that can live outside of any official “app store.” […]

What if you could do Skype VoIP & video conferencing on the Google Android? Sounds pretty damn cool, doesn’t it? Especially given all the media hype surrounding the new iPhone 3GS. I already tweeted my displeasure that the new Apple iPhone 3GS doesn’t support Flash and also tweeted my annoyance that Apple didn’t put a front-facing camera for video chat support using Skype. Thus, while the iPhone supports a native Skype app, it only supports VoIP and not video chat. And don’t expect video chat anytime soon either. As Skype Journal remarked, “iPhone programmers can use the webcam to store video to a file, but won’t be able to write apps that manipulate or route the stream. This means Skype for iPhone won’t be able to add video calling any time soon.

via Adobe’s Flash 10 for Android: A big win for mobile web apps | VentureBeat

Adobe Strives to Crack the Smart-Phone Market June 5, 2009

Posted by andre in Mobile & Gadgets.
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Adobe Systems Inc., which makes the Flash software widely used on computers to play Internet videos, is trying to crack a new market: smart phones.

But the software company’s year-plus effort to expand beyond the PC has been hampered by shifting strategies within Adobe and an inability to offer a version of Flash that runs on the iPhone and BlackBerry devices.

Now, the San Jose, Calif., company is reengineering its software so Flash-based games and videos can run on different handsets as well as PCs without being modified. As part of the effort, Adobe has struck alliances with chip designers and phone makers and offered millions of dollars to developers willing to write programs for mobile devices that use its software.

“Smart phones are where the game is now,” says Kevin Lynch, Adobe’s chief technology officer. “Our chips are on the table. We’ve made our bets.”

via Adobe Strives to Crack the Smart-Phone Market – WSJ.com

Adobe’s Flash: Coming to a TV (and living room) near you April 20, 2009

Posted by andre in Internet & Communities, Multimedia.
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Adobe said Monday that it is taking its Flash software, which is commonly used for Web video, to TVs, set-top boxes and Blu-ray players.

And Adobe has a big chunk of the industry including Comcast, Disney, Netflix and others lined up behind Flash (Techmeme, statement). The first Flash optimized devices will be available in the second half of the year. Adobe is expected to demonstrate its technology at the NAB conference in Las Vegas.

Dubbed the “Adobe Flash Platform for the Digital Home”, Adobe is making a play to be a standard in the living room. What’s notable here is that a common technology and player may allow for video content to hop across screens. Adobe is already a dominant player for Web video. […]

via Adobe’s Flash: Coming to a TV (and living room) near you | Between the Lines | ZDNet.com

Where’s The Cash For Flash? April 17, 2009

Posted by andre in Programming.
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Flash games are hugely popular, and they’re cheap to make. But is there money to be made as a Flash developer?

That depends, say the people interviewed for this article, not only on the quality of your games, of course, but more importantly, on how clever you are at marketing them. It’s all about having multiple revenue streams, they say; single sources of income used to cut it, but no longer.
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Once upon a time, the standard operating procedure for an independent Flash developer was to create a game and then shop it around to the various portals and sponsors to see who — if anyone — would bite, says former Flash developer Chris Hughes in Sacramento, CA.

He and his partner Adam Schroeder soon became weary of the process and launched FlashGameLicense.com, a broker site where developers can display their wares and sponsors can bid on them.[…]

via Gamasutra – Features – Where’s The Cash For Flash?