Adobe Flash Player 10 public beta now open

Today Adobe Systems launched the public beta for Flash Player 10, the company's ubiquitous runtime graphics platform. Added features include 3D animation and transformation support, new effects and filters, as well as new rich text layouts.

Flash developers can download the Pixel Bender toolkit at no further charge, and run it in conjunction with Flash Player 10. These together add the ability to create custom filters and animated effects similar to those found in Adobe After Effects.

This version, formerly code-named "Astro," adds the native ability to animate two-dimensional objects in 3D space while maintaining their interactivity, as well as support for rich text layout (enabling anti-aliased vertical, bi-directional, right-to-left text placement, including ligatures)

Also new to this version of Flash is variable bitrate streaming, which detects fluctuations in bandwidth availability, and adjusts video playback accordingly with the goal of zero buffer time. According to Adobe, this feature is also going to make it onto future releases of Adobe Flash Media Server. Furthermore, this and other features will be incorporated into Adobe AIR (which was recently released in Alpha on Linux) and will contribute to work in the Open Screen Project.

Meanwhile, Microsoft's competing Silverlight 2 Web platform is expected to see an official launch out of beta this summer, presumably with time enough to coincide with the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic games taking place between August 8 and 24. Events will be broadcast by NBC using Silverlight technology to facilitate the 2,200 hours of live video streams.

Flash Player 10 is compatible with Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows 2000, Mac OS X and Linux.

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