Adobe Systems on Tuesday announced the availability of an upgrade to the AIR (Adobe Integrated Runtime) SDK and runtime, adding features for desktop and mobile applications including better performance for Apple iOS devices. The company also revealed the discontinuation of AIR for desktop Linux.
Adobe AIR enables Flash Web applications to run outside of a browser. With AIR 2.7, Adobe is featuring support for Android 2.2+, RIM BlackBerry Tablet OS, and Apple iOS 4 and above operating systems. "Companies can build and deploy AIR 2.7 apps using Adobe Flash Builder 4.5 with an upcoming update to AIR 2.7 later this month," the Adobe Flash Player and AIR product and engineering teams said in their blog.
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Capabilities touted for AIR 2.7 include both enhanced rendering for iOS, as well as faster development time for iOS applications. Also, the AIR runtime can be moved to SD cards within Android devices to free up storage space on the phone.
"By the end of 2011, we expect that there will be more than 200 million smartphones and tablets which can download and run Adobe AIR apps, including devices running Android, BlackBerry Tablet OS, and iOS," Adobe officials said. Tablet OS, the new tablet software for the RIM PlayBook tablet, is expected to receive an update of AIR 2.7 by the end of the month. Version 2.7 is available for download now.
"The Adobe folks are truly persistent in continuing to improve Flash and AIR for mobile platforms," analyst Al Hilwa of IDC, said. "Even in a world of quickly multiplying platforms and form factors, they appear to be broadening their reach to as many platforms as makes sense, thereby slowly but surely carving Adobe a place as a leading multi-platform mobile development environment."
Although Apple had blocked Flash and AIR from its iOS devices, Apple now permits AIR applications to run on iOS because AIR provides standalone applications outside of a browser. Flash is still not permitted on iOS devices, an Adobe representative said.
On desktops, the AIR 2.7 runtime has built in the same support for media measurement as Flash Player 10.3, allowing users to simplify collection of real-time, aggregated reporting data on how content is distributed and viewed by users. Integrated support for acoustic echo cancellation lets developers add real-time VoIP capabilities for applications and games without requiring users to wear a noise-canceling headset. Navigation improvements for HTML content enable seamless Web-link-style navigation within desktop applications such as magazine viewers and e-book readers. With AIR 2.7, direct support is offered for Adobe SiteCatalyst, enabling developers to implement video analytics for existing or legacy video players with as little as two lines of code.
Adobe officials also said in the blog that they would no longer be releasing their own versions of AIR and the AIR SDK for desktop Linux but expect that partners would do this. Adobe is "prioritizing" a Linux porting kit for AIR that Open Screen Project partners can use to complete AIR implementations for Linux on PCs, mobile devices, TVs, and TV-connected devices.
"The last Adobe release of AIR for desktop Linux is AIR 2.6. By focusing on the porting kit and support of partner implementations, we expect to provide broader support for AIR across Linux-based PCs and devices, whereas our own desktop Linux releases have accounted for less than 0.5 percent of lifetime AIR downloads," Adobe said.
Existing AIR applications will continue to work on Linux PCs as long as they target AIR 2.6 or below. But users will not be able to install applications or apply application updates, including security updates, that require a later version of AIR unless such later versions are released by a partner.
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