Adobe Flash Player 11 and AIR 3 coming in early October

Adobe's long running Flash Player, used in so many web applications and games, is getting a new version next month. Adobe's web site has announced that Flash Player 11, along with Adobe AIR 3, will launch in early October. The company has some big claims for these new versions, saying that it will use a new hardware accelerated graphics architecture called Stage 3D (also known by its code name Molehill). Adobe says that it will enable Flash-based games to have performance that will be 1,000 times faster than games running under Flash 10. Games that use Flash Player 11 and AIR 3 are expected to launch later this year and early 2012. You can check out a demo of one of those games in the video below.

In addition to hardware graphics acceleration support, Adobe claims Stage 3D will also have faster software rendering features that will provide better performance for games even on a 10 year old PC running on Windows XP. Flash Player 11 will also have full 64-bit web browser support for Windows, Linux, and Mac operating systems. As far as AIR 3, Adobe claims it will let developers create programs that can be installed with seamless one-click programs with Android, iOS, Windows, and Mac operating system.

Adobe is trying to make its new Flash Player more attractive to developers. This new version comes as Microsoft has announced that the upcoming Internet Explorer 10 web browser would not use plug-in programs, including Flash. for the Windows 8 Metro version. Adobe quickly said that Flash will work with Windows 8 when Microsoft's next operating system is released.

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Nation-State Attackers Are Adobe's Biggest Worry

It's no secret that attackers have made Adobe's products key targets for the last couple of years, routinely going after bugs in Reader, Flash and Acrobat in targeted attacks and widespread campaigns alike. But it's not just the rank-and-file bad guys who are making Adobe a priority; it's more often nation-states, the company's top security official said.

Adobe, like many other large software companies, has contacts in the big defense contractors, government agencies and other organizations that are most often the targets of state-sponsored attacks. So when a new attack begins, the company typically hears about it within hours as customers begin to call and report a new threat involving an Adobe product. Since the company began its software security program several years ago, the sophistication level of the people finding and exploiting new bugs in Flash or Reader has gone up significantly.

Now, says Brad Arkin, the senior director of product security and privacy at Adobe, it's at a point where the company's main adversaries are state-sponsored actors.

"In the last eighteen months, the only zero days found in our software have been found by what Dave Aitel would call carrier-class adversaries," Arkin said in his keynote speech at the United Security Summit here Tuesday. "These are the groups that have enough money to build an aircraft carrier. Those are our adversaries."

Arkin said that when a new attack involving a zero-day bug in one of Adobe's products starts, it typically will begin with attacks against a select group of high-profile organizations. That usually means defense contractors, government agencies or large financial services companies. Once the security teams at those organizations find and analyze the threat, Arkin said his team will begin getting a flurry of calls within an hour or two as the campaign hits.

From there, the attack will often then move down the ladder to other large enterprises and then smaller ones as the new exploit shows up in crimeware packs and automated attack tools. By that time, it's likely an entirely different set of attackers using the exploit. But it's the well-funder and highly skilled attackers who are doing the real heavy lifting in terms of finding new bugs and designing methods to exploit them.....

Interesting as this ZD-net article (dated today) mentions:

Adobe launches Flash Player 11 over concerns about its future

By Larry Dignan | September 20, 2011, 9:01pm PDT

Summary: Adobe's point is that Flash and HTML 5 will run side by side for years to come.

"Adobe on Wednesday will launch its Flash Player 11 for general consumption as it works to bolster adoption even as key partners move toward HTML 5 and browser technologies that don't require plug-ins"

The IE10 thing is a little misleading, IE10 will support plugins, just won't support them in Tablet (metro) mode. Yes, the article says that, but it's worded confusingly and buries the lead.

I will be plessantly shocked if the RTW a 64-bit version instead of delaying it to version 12. They had a 64-bit Flash player for Windows in beta since Flash 10 and for Linux since Flash 9.

I have Flash 11 on a couple 64bit machines. No faster at all, IMO. It is a release candidate though, but don't for see that much of an improvement between now and final version.

1000 times faster is an absolutely ridiculous claim!!

I have Flash 11 RC on my netbook (Atom CPU). It is FAST. Videos used to constantly stutter frames, now it is almost completely smooth. Final must be even better.

The Metro IE version not supporting plugins, does not preclude it from supporting Flash. There are ways around this, especially if Adobe is moving to HTML5, as they can pipe content in the canvas, or move to HTML5 and push Flash/Air for out of browser applications, that could in theory run as Metro Apps.

We just don't know what Microsoft or Adobe has planned, and pushing this information out as 'fact' is dishonest. Microsoft has NOT said they will not offer alternative integration methods for Flash, nor have we heard what Adobe specifically has in mind as they move to HTML5 integration.

I'm not a fan of Flash, and would rather see HTML5 replace the concept that Flash once filled.

Microsoft also changes things during product development, and a limited broker approved plugin option may not be fully off the table.

With Vista, Microsoft had said OpenGL would not get the benefits of the WDDM, and would be rendered with latency due to dual writes through the WDDM. However, when Vista shipped, OpenGL was fully supported and even accelerated by using the WDDM GPU technologies to schedule and virtualize the GPU threads for OpenGL.

So all we know is that the Metro IE will not support traditional add-on technologies, but we do not know if there is an alternative for page 'content' add-ons, nor do we know if exceptions are made through HTML5's canvas, and we certainly have NO information on how Adobe or Microsoft might try to handle Flash content even without the 'add-on' technology.

ffMathy said,

That can easily happen by providi full shader support for instance.
No, that seems odd. So a computer that was rendering at 30fps would now go 30,000fps.

cybertimber2008 said,
No, that seems odd. So a computer that was rendering at 30fps would now go 30,000fps.
When they say 1000 times faster, it'll be something more technical than frame rates.

It is like the number of fishes in IE test-drive. Frames may not exceed to this amount, but number of fishes has greatly improved.

Compare IE8 and IE9. The difference is around this big. IE8, and the other browsers used to stutter with even very few fishes, while IE9 would be buttery smooth even at 1000 fishes.

(But other browsers have greatly improved, thanks to IE.)