Adobe AIR, the Rich Internet Application framework that brings together the responsiveness of the desktop, the connectivity of the web and the dazzling good looks made possible by working in conjunction with other Adobe apps, has hit an important milestone this week. The company announced last night that the software has now been downloaded more than 25 million times.
Update: Adobe PR wrote us to clarify that the announcement is not in fact that 25 million people have downloaded AIR but that 25 million AIR apps have been downloaded. That's less clear and less exciting, but is exactly the kind of PR fluff that agencies issue all too often. Have you got any real news or do you not have any real news? This kind of stuff drives us nuts and we apologize to our readers for the misunderstanding.
If you've been wondering when AIR would become more than an edge case platform to develop on, that time could be now. In fact, more than 850,000 developers have already downloaded the AIR software development kit, according to Adobe's Ryan Stewart. We think this is really good news.
In a typical PR move, Adobe's announcement focuses on adoption of AIR by big brands like AOL, eBay, The Nasdaq Stock Market, Inc. and The New York Times Company. Even more exciting, though, is the world of startups and innovative side projects built on AIR.
We've written extensively about AIR here at RWW. See the following posts to find out more about what the excitement is about.
- The Best Things About Adobe AIR
An overview of AIR's best qualities, like the fact that AIR apps can run on Windows and Mac desktops.
- Looking for cool AIR apps? Check out our posts 6 Adobe AIR Apps to Check Out, 10 Adobe AIR Apps Bloggers Will Love and Adobe AIR Goes to Work: 6 Apps for the Corporate Desktop.
- We like tracking AIR apps, but not as much as the folks at RefreshingApps.com do. That's a great place to find brand new apps on AIR. Each one is a joy to check out - they are so pretty!
While video may be moving away from the Rich Internet App paradigm, see Joost's move from the desktop to the web for example, there's a lot of action going on in the RIA space beyond AIR. Not all video players are moving away from the desktop, either. See last week's release of a live streaming player in AIR for "news" from Fox News, for example.
We wrote about several other RIA platforms here in June. Competition is good and thanks to NBC's use of Microsoft's Silverlight to power streaming of the Olympics, Silverlight may very well have far more than 25 million now as well. Adobe's incredible dominance over the publishing technology used by creatives, by video publishers and others requires competition to keep the company honest.
The moral of the story is that RIA platforms and AIR in particular now have a significant install base and offering an application on this exciting new platform will be less onerous to many users than it would have been before. You may still be looked at like a freak if you talk about AIR apps at your family's holiday parties, but at tech parties you should now be in the clear.