Adobe recently announced features for the new 10.2 Flash. Among the claims are 34% more efficient, inclusion of the H.264 codec and support for more mobile devices and platforms. Also, and this seems to be the way the whole industry is going, they have included hardware acceleration to help deliver HD in with less problems and minimal overhead with H.264 decoding and Stage Video.The onslaught continues in the ongoing HTML5 video codec wars with the latest move by MPEG-LA to call for patent claims against Google’s WebM VP8 video codec. Meanwhile Adobe, who could sort of be considered like Switzerland in this one, except for all the Nazi gold, quietly toils away to continue development, improve stability and boost efficiency on the world’s most widespread online video delivery technology (my words, not theirs). Also, they now support both VP8 and H.264 and as for the HTML5 thing, well they’ve already put out information on a possible Flash-to-HTML5 conversion tool.

So what’s new in this newest version of Flash? Here’s a quick rundown of some features:

Support for mobile devices

Extend the reach of your content to users wherever they are. Flash Player delivers expressive content to personal computers, smartphones, tablets, smartbooks, and netbooks.

Mobile-ready features for unprecedented creative control

Take advantage of native device capabilities, including support for multitouch, gestures, mobile input models, and accelerometer input.

Hardware acceleration

Deliver smooth high definition (HD) quality video with minimal overhead across mobile devices and personal computers using H.264 video decoding and Stage Video.

Leverage complete hardware acceleration of the video rendering pipeline with this new method for video playback. Dramatically decrease processor usage and enable higher frame rates, reduced memory usage, and greater pixel fidelity for best-in-class high-definition (HD) playback performance.

New Stage Video

Adobe Flash Player 10.2 includes the new Stage Video API that enables beautiful, high-performance video playback across platforms. Stage Video helps websites deliver best-in-class video across screens and browsers by enabling access to hardware acceleration of the entire video pipeline. Developers can take advantage of this new model to deliver improved playback quality while reducing processor usage by up to 85 percent. This enhanced performance builds on the benefits of H.264 hardware accelerated decoding introduced in Flash Player 10.1.

tage Video works with all of the existing video on the web viewed in Flash Player, allowing sites to continue to take advantage of its other benefits for video playback, including advanced streaming controls for smoother, high-quality playback, DVR-like playback control, adaptive bitrate management, content protection, consistency, and reach across browsers and over one billion computers, mobile devices, and TVs.

Putting it all together

From what Adobe is saying, overall because of the changes Flash 10.2 is 24% more efficient than even 10.1. It should now be able to stream 1080p video with under 15% CPU, though I imagine that depends on what kind of CPU you’ve got. Intel Core Duo, sure, Pentium-III, probably not. The great news about that is it will suck less energy for the CPU which will translate into longer battery life for all forms of portable and mobile devices from laptops to tablets to smartphones.

That performance boost has been tested on new versions of Windows and MacOS X, the major browsers and even Linux (Red Hat). I guess we’ll see what Jobs has to say about it once he’s back to full health and ready to start swinging his hypocrite stick (I should trademark that one) around again.

Also included in the new version of Flash:

  • Internet Explorer 9 hardware accelerated rendering support New (in Flash Player 10.2, desktop only)
  • Native custom mouse cursors New (in Flash Player 10.2)
  • Support for full screen mode with multiple monitors New (in Flash Player 10.2, desktop only)
  • Sub-pixel text rendering Enhanced (in Flash Player 10.2)
  • Sleep mode (mobile only) Reduce CPU and battery consumption on mobile devices by slowing down the Flash Player timer when the mobile device goes into screen-saver or similar mode, with no interruption in audio/video playback. Incoming phone calls pause Flash Player.
  • Multitouch and gestures
  • Peer-assisted networking Enhanced
  • Input method editor (IME) support Enhanced
  • Multiple monitor full-screen support.

Companies already adopting the new version include online video heavyweight like Brightcove, Epix, Viemo and YouTube. The full feature list can be found at the Adobe Flash Player site.