AIR 2.0 Coming Soon: Multitouch, Audio Recording, Less Memory

Microblogging clients, media players, news tickers and more built on Adobe’s popular Rich Internet App framework AIR will soon become a lot more powerful and efficient.

Version 2.0 of AIR will hit Adobe Labs later this year and be available for everyone in the first half of 2010, the company said this week. A good list of new features were blogged about by Adobe’s Christian Cantrell yesterday and below are a few of our favorites.

AIR has

a whole lot of potential

but a number of shortcomings have mitigated the impact it’s made to date, especially the fact that AIR apps tend to be memory hogs. To see what kinds of apps are being built in AIR, check out the now mothballed but still useful 3rd party site

RefreshingApps

or the official

Adobe AIR showcase

.

Here’s what we can look forward to for AIR 2.0.

Multitouch and Gestures

Mac users with multitouch hardware can already perform multitouch actions in AIR apps today, but this feature will be available for Windows users in the next version of AIR. Both Windows 7 and Mac users will get new support for gestures like press and tap, pan, zoom, swipe and rotate.

Think the design-savvy developers of the AIR world can come up with some awesome things to do with these new gestures? We suspect they will.

Local Audio Encoding

“Access audio data directly from the microphone,” Cantrell writes, “You used to have to send the data to a server and access it from there, but now you can do it entirely on the client.” With this increase in efficiency, we expect to see more AIR apps utilize audio. An AIR podcast recording app? That’s an obvious idea, we’ll see what else people come up with.

Improved Memory Use

AIR apps are memory expensive, that’s probably the single biggest complaint about them. Cantrell says that AIR 2.0 will have lower CPU utilization when idle and lower memory consumption in general. That’s great news. If Adobe can really pull this off and make dramatic cuts to AIR’s memory requirement then AIR apps are going to see a big increase in adoption.

The New York Times for example, one of the most new-media capable old-school institutions in the US, recently asked its staff to stop using the AIR app Tweetdeck because it’s such a memory hog. That’s probably one of the reasons why Times staff appears to be posting to Twitter less these days.

AIR apps can offer a compelling user experience outside the browser but across computing platforms. We’ve had high hopes for AIR for a long time. These and other improvements could help AIR deliver on more of that promise.

Hopefully 2.0 won’t be too long in coming.

See Also: 10 Adobe AIR Apps Bloggers Will Love

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