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Adobe is testing optimized Flash Player beta for the MacBook Air

Today Engadget sat down with Adobe's Shantanu Narayen and asked him what the MacBook Air's increased battery life -- sans Flash installed -- meant for the future of Flash in the wake of HTML5.

Narayen kinda dodged the question with this stay-on-message answer: "When we have access to hardware acceleration, we've proven that Flash has equal or better performance on every platform," but then went on to say that Adobe is currently testing a beta version of Flash specifically designed for the MacBook Air.

When Apple introduced the new MacBook Air, news quickly spread when it was discovered the company had left Adobe's Flash Player off the system. You could still run Flash content on the Air just fine -- you just had to download the plugin and install it yourself. Apple said they left Flash Player off the Air so users would be sure to download the latest version.

After the new MacBook Airs dropped, however, Ars Technica ran some tests and discovered that having Flash on the MacBook Air could reduce its battery run time by as much as a third. This led me to speculate that the real reason Apple left Flash off the Air is so it could advertise higher real-world wireless usage battery numbers. Shortly after that, Adobe's CTO said the reduced battery time would be the same if the Air was running web pages with HTML5 video.

With today's acknowledgment from Narayen, it's nice to see that Adobe is still trying to make Flash Player a contender. It still seems like Flash has its work cut out for it, given that virtually every major tech company has decided to throw their support behind HTML5.

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