Flash 10.2 coming to mobile, better battery life

H.264 is the secret, 1080p 30fps video is on the way for smartphones

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Flash Player 10.2 has only been available for Windows and Mac for a few days but it will be coming to Android very quickly.

Adobe's Anup Murarka told TechRadar: "We have released source code to all our tier one partners and you will see Flash 10.2 begin to show up for mobile devices in the next few weeks".

One client he couldn't give us a date for is Flash on Windows Phone 7; "not at this time but it is still something both companies are working on". He was positive about announcement that Nokia and Microsoft will work together on Windows Phone 7.

"I think it's good for us; it hopefully simplifies and broadens the reach of platforms we expect to have supported as soon as possible."

Better CPU usage, less power

On the desktop, Flash 10.2 brings what he calls "pretty dramatic savings" in CPU use for playing video because of Stage Video, full hardware acceleration for H.264 video. "When you have the right version of the operating system, we're seeing HD full screen flash video playback getting to often to below 15% of CPU utilisation.

Often when we do everything in software today, we are above 60% and up to even 100% CPU. And that also translates into battery savings and improvement in overall responsiveness. We don't think you'll see quite as dramatic improvement on mobile because we already use some of that [technology], but you will see improvements in battery life."

Stage Video support will also be available for Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) and BlackBerry Tablet OS, and he noted that they will also both support the new Content Viewer for digital magazines that Adobe is announcing this week, which means titles like National Geographic and Reader's Digest will be on sale when tablets ship.

What about AIR?

Websites need to update their software players to support Stage Video, but they don't need to re-encode H.264 video and Murarka says YouTube, Video and Brightcove are already starting to use the new technology.

Flash and AIR are a success on mobile devices, Murarka claims. There are more than 1,500 Android apps based on AIR and in the six months that Flash 101 was available for smartphones last year Murarka says it was installed on over 20 million devices, and the 35 devices that are certified for Flash added up to 12% of all the smartphones shipped last year.

More than 40 smartphones that can run Flash Player 10.2 will ship in the first half of 2011, he told us "and we're astonished to see that we're already tracking more than 50 tablets that will ship this year". He predicts that adds up to more 200 million devices that will be capable of running Flash and AIR by the end of the year, and that Flash will be on 130 million of them.

A lot of that is driven by an increasing demand for video; "We've had over 100% year on year growth in the amount of video streamed over Flash. We finished last year with over 120 petabytes of content streamed using Flash each month". (That's on PCs, Macs and mobile devices combined.)

Preparing for dual-core

Smartphones with dual-core Tegra and Snapdragon processors will run Flash video particularly well, he notes. "It is definitely noticeable; we're seeing higher frame rates, we're seeing more responsiveness in terms of graphics.

We're going to see this really rapid development of mobile capabilities. With a dual-core Snapdragon processor, we're able to decode 1080p video on a mobile device. And even though the Snapdragon processor is scaling the 1080p video, we're actually still seeing 30 frames per second playback.

These are the things we can do with the iteration of hardware, with the iteration of GPUs and with high hardware speeds."