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Flash Player 10.2 for Android, and M2D for Molehill

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This week will see Flash Player 10.2 released for Android phones (with a beta version available for Honeycomb tablets). Plus, Ely Greenfield has developed a GPU-accelerated 2D framework for Molehill, named M2D. Read on to find out more...

Flash Player 10.2 on Android

Adobe has announced that a general availability release of Flash Player 10.2 for both Android 2.2 (FroYo) and Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) will be available in the Android Market on March 18th. There will also be a beta release made available for users running Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) for tablets such as the Motorola XOOM. Users of the XOOM must install the Android 3.0.1 update to take advantage of Flash 10.2 from the Android Market.

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One of the main features of Flash Player 10.2 on mobile is the integration with multi-core CPUs and accelerated GPUs enabling hardware accelerated StageVideo on mobile devices running Android 3.0 and above. Additional highlights include:

  • Improved scrolling of web pages
  • Support for HTML is overlayed atop Flash content
  • Optimized soft keyboard support
  • New ActionScript API for soft keyboards
  • Overall performance improvements

Certain features are only available on Android 3.0 as that version of the operating system has an improved browser rendering model which allows such integrated features. Note to browser and OS makers: working with Adobe on improving (or even supporting) Flash Player on your platform is beneficial to all. Psst! That's a hint for you guys and gals over at Apple.

With so many new Android devices equipped with multi-core processers and "Superchip" GPUs in preproduction right now, this is a great foundation for the next wave of both smartphone and tablet devices.

The First GPU Accelerated 2D Framework for "Molehill"

When the Flash "Incubator" build was announced a few weeks ago, developers were amazed at all of the cool tech demos showing the power and flexibility of the "Molehill" APIs within the upcoming Flash Player. Adobe is focusing on the very low level APIs for this release but has provided many popular 3D frameworks with advanced access to "Molehill" to enable them to build full, easy to use frameworks upon these base APIs for developers to use.

A number of Adobe employees have continued to point out that "Molehill" is not restricted to 3D acceleration, but that the APIs can used for all sorts of 2D implementations as well. We now have a glimpse at the first GPU Accelerated 2D Framework for "Molehill" called M2D, written by Ely Greenfield of Adobe. Some of the accelerated features of this 2D framework include render embeds, animated spritesheets, positioning and rotation of objects, and accelerated particles! Apparently, we will also be able to accelerate DislplayObjects using this framework.

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This is great news for traditional Flash game developers as they are mostly used to working in 2D space. While 3D is great to have and is hugely welcomed by the community at large, sometimes it is best to start with something a little closer to what you are familiar with. I'm sure we will see more 2D specific frameworks based upon the "Molehill" APIs emerge for general use in the coming months. There are even some examples of the Box2D physics engine accelerated through M2D (see photo above). Very exciting times!

So... should we be bracing ourselves for an onslaught of GPU-accelerated "Angry Birds" clones?

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