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Adobe Releases Flashier Flash, Invokes Cinema History

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Because the PR war between Apple and Adobe over the Flash video player just wasn't strange enough, Adobe resurrected ghosts of video history when releasing its latest player version yesterday. "Here is San Francisco, we've had a bit of tradition around changing how folks see the world with images," the company said in its rollout. Early film pioneer Edward Muybridge and TV inventor Philo Farnsworth were invoked and compared to the 2002 introduction of the Flash Player.

Yikes! And here we were complaining about all of that hiccup-y playback, CPU use and battery draining. Makes you feel like an ingrate, doesn't it?

Well, Adobe says it is fixing all of those problems with the release of Flash 10.2. The new version introduces a new Stage view technology that maintains video acceleration through the pipeline and claims to be 34% more efficient than its predecessors. Adobe says that the player can stream 1080p video using between 1% and 15% of CPU resources on a typical Windows or Mac computer. The new version uses "dramatically less computing power," Adobe says and should extend battery life. The player's superior performance has been proven across all recent Windows iterations, the major browsers, Mac OS X (recent versions) and Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

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Of course, Apple has been the source of the most controversy surrounding Flash. It famously excluded Flash from the iPad and even released the popular Mac Air models last year without Flash already installed. Part of the weirdness of the Apple v. Adobe debate was a lengthy published diatribe from Steve Jobs himself about the inadequacies of Flash. Interestingly, Adobe does not address one of Jobs's chief complaints, which involved the bugginess of Flash. He claimed that Flash was among the biggest sources of crashes and problems in Mac OS.

Adobe says that the new Flash also brings enhanced features, including multiple monitor full screen support and custom native cursors. Publishers will need to update the Player at their own Web site for users to take advantage of the new efficiencies. According to the company, Vimeo, Brightcove, Epix and YouTube will be supporting the new version.

While we don't' expect Apple to revise its Flash-free position on iOS devices as a result of this version release, it would be interesting to hear the boy geniuses from Cupertino weigh in on whether Flash 10.2 does in fact make life easier for MacBooks. Well, we won't hold our breath for that.
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