28 March 2011

Adobe AIR 2.6: Adobe’s RIA MultiScreen Play Materializes

Adobe AIR logo

Separated by less than a month from the release of Flash 10.2, A new Adobe AIR update is now out and while it is not a major release by itself, it is what should have also been released with Adobe AIR 2.5.  In fact Adobe AIR 2.6 got released broken in several releases; From the release of AIR 2.6 for Android that was released in advance of both the Desktop SDK and Runtime of Adobe AIR 2.6, and of course the actual update for currently installed Adobe AIR runtimes that just went live last week.

The reason for the advanced release of AIR 2.6 for Android had all to do with Adobe’s strategic partnership with Google, as Adobe needed and more than likely was demanded for this release AIR to spice up Google’s own release of Android 3.0 A.K.A Honeycomb and Android 3.0  based slates like the Motorola XOOM.  This way AIR for Android could then fully support the Content Viewer for Android and Adobe’s new Digital Publishing Suite.

Adobe AIR 2.6 is all about pushing forward the dream of Adobe to go Multiscreen and do so with good performance. Reason why I guess all that it is in AIR 2.6 could not had been released with AIR 2.6 as Flash 10.2 advancements were integral to realizing this.

With AIR 2.6, Adobe goes back to truly supporting iOS in the SDK, and they are going back on iOS with a vengeance, as they are now offering a end to end solution akin to what Novell’s MonoTouch does for  iOS. Giving Flash, Flex and WebStack devs the comfort of developing in the way they know they are faster with. Leaving it to the AIR for iOS solution to integrate the developed code as a native iOS App via the “new” AIR Developer Tool instead of the OS X Packager for iPhone; Native iOS apps with the RIAness of Adobe but without sacrificing performance anymore.

So AIR 2.6 starts truly delivering Adobe AIR as a MultiScreen solution. In the same way you can say Microsoft is working on making Silverlight run everywhere. AIR 2.6 actually puts Adobe once again completely in the lead, by making it possible to deliver RIA apps that run in the Desktop (Win, OS X, Linux), the Web (Via the Flash plugin) and in two mobile platforms (Android and iOS) with two different form factors. And with the additional promise of AIR being able to deliver Apps to two extra Mobile platforms sooner than later. Starting with The Playbook from RIM and potentially following with HP WebOS later on. You could also wonder why am not also counting Adobe AIR for TV’s. And the simple reason for that, is because it is not truly there yet. But just like in the case of The Playbook, that should soon change.

Features

(specific to AIR 2.6)

iOS 4 support for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch Enhanced

Take advantage of new features in iOS 4 like multitasking, retina display for higher screen resolutions up to 960x640, and front and back camera support. Capture audio with the microphone and build applications with an integrated development process when packaging to the IPA format.

USB debugging for Android NEW

Conveniently debug your applications on an Android device through a USB connection with no Wi-Fi setup required. Android USB drivers for Microsoft® Windows® are now included with the Adobe AIR software development kit (SDK).

Hardware graphics acceleration NEW

Maximize graphics rendering performance for Android and iOS by taking advantage of the device's graphics hardware acceleration.

StageWebView Enhanced for iOS

Display web links inside an application (for example, your Facebook application) to quickly access web content without having to leave your application. No need to switch to your web browser.

Automatic soft keyboard support NEW

Simplify the development of multiscreen applications when soft keyboards automatically appear when required. Desktop applications originally designed for physical keyboards are more easily optimized for mobile devices when you don't have to modify the content or application to display the soft keyboard.

A Look Into Adobe AIR 3.0

Is in a sense what Adobe AIR 2.6 brings now, An Adobe that shows they are playing to win by bringing their best RIA game into fruition, in as many screens and platforms they can manage. Making the plight for the RIA a dead serious statement on why Runtimes and Plugins are here to stay and got a solid place in the future.

But if words are not enough, here is a video showing what AIR 2.6 brings and the potential of what Adobe AIR 3.0 could then mean in the future.

AIR 2.6 game shown running in iOS, OS X, Android 2.3 and Android 3.0

 

Linkage

Adobe  AIR 2.6

Adobe AIR 2.6 SDK

Adobe AIR Development Center

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