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Adobe releases Flash Player 10, ships CS4

It's been in beta for a while, but now Adobe's ubiquitous media plugin (warning: LOUD) has turned 10 officially for the Mac. The 5.5 MB download (available in separate versions for Intel and PPC) gains a host of new and improved features, including custom After Effects-style filters, advanced text support, 3D effects, better hardware acceleration and streaming support, vamped-up APIs, and file upload/download improvements.

Flash 10 requires a 500 MHz G3 or better on the Mac, and runs on Tiger or Leopard: OS X 10.3 Panther users are out of luck. Download now from Adobe if you dare. Authoring content that takes full advantage of Flash Player 10 means using Flash CS4, which -- what a coincidence! -- is shipping as of today, along with the rest of the CS4 suite.

Flash's ubiquity in the marketplace (99% of Internet users have some version of it installed, says Adobe) does give it a wide advantage over media alternatives like QuickTime and Silverlight, but one of the ongoing challenges for Flash is version upsell; getting people to move to the new build sometimes has to wait until a popular service requires it. For Mac users, the lure of upgrading includes a move away from the traditionally lackluster performance of Flash on the Intel hardware -- I know many MacBook users who can tell when a Flash ad is playing in a hidden Safari tab just by the sound of the cooling fans ramping up -- so with any luck, version 10 will address the challenges in that area while simultaneously adding all these cool new features.

Thanks Richard

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