Apple’s snub of Adobe Flash has had no impact on the latter’s popularity among other smartphone and tablet vendors. If anything, it has probably whetted their appetite for the Flash Player. According to Adobe, at the end of 2010 there were more than 20 million smartphones with Flash 10.1 - the first truly mobile-optimized version of the software. But if you think that’s impressive, then get ready for the bigger, more impressive numbers that await you after the jump.
Adobe has finished work on version 10.2 of the Flash plug-in for Windows, Mac, and Linux. There are a few notable changes, but one big update has taken care of a thorn in our side (and possibly yours) for years. Flash 10.2 has the ability to keep full screen video on one monitor, while using other content on a second. You will never be as productive again. But that's not all the update has to offer.
Remember how the iPad was submerged under tons of ridicule for a variety of reasons even before its release? Of course, you remember it all. The fact is a lot of people simply can’t miss an opportunity to poke fun at the Cupertino-based iEverything vendor. As for its competitors, they just love it even more. Now, Toshiba is mocking those visiting its tablet site from iOS-based devices by reminding them just how big a handicap the lack of Flash can be.
This is the message that greets iDevice users: “Such a shame. Add this to the list of interesting places on the Internet you can’t see on your device. Of course, if you had a Toshiba Tablet, you would enjoy the entire Internet. Yep, Flash sites too.”
Toshiba’s tablet will be powered by the Nvidia Tegra 2 SoC and run Android 3.0 Honeycomb. However, iPad owners need to wait a few more months if they wish to switch to Toshiba’s 10.1-inch.
Deleting your browser cookies is supposed to throw websites off your trail, but that isn't always the case. All a determined website has to do is drop a backup cookie into Adobe Flash's local storage, so unless you clean that out as well, they can still track you. These so-called 'zombie cookies' aren't something that only obscure websites use, but according to InfoWorld.com, several prominent sites -- Disney, ABC, ESPN, MTV, and many others -- have been using this approach, and have ended up in court as a result.
So what, if anything, is Adobe doing to ensure a user's privacy isn't compromised?
"Since local storage allows sites and apps to remember information, there are concerns about the use of local storage to store tracking information – or of greater concern, to restore tracking information to a browser cookie that a user has intentionally deleted," Adobe's Emmy Huang wrote in a blog post. "This use of local data storage has raised questions about privacy. So we’re continually working to make sure that users have better control over the local data stored by applications running in Flash Player.
"Most recently, we’ve been collaborating with browser vendors to integrate LSO management with the browser UI. The first capability, one that we believe will have the greatest immediate impact, is to allow users to clear LSOs (and any local storage, such as that of HTML5 and other plugin technologies) from the browser settings interface—similar to how users can clear their browser cookies today."
Adobe claims it's working with Mozilla and Google to define a new browser API for clearing local data, and that you'll see this feature show up soon on the Google Chrome dev channel. After that, you can expect this capability to come integrated in all major browsers.
Adobe finally has reason to celebrate. It isn't that Steve Jobs and company suddenly had a change of heart and decided to support the Flash platform, but in spite of Apple's freeze-out, Adobe just reported its first billion dollar quarter in the history of the company.
Adobe achieved record revenue of $1.008 billion, to be exact, a sizable jump from the $757.3 million the company posted for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2009 and up from the $990.3 million reported in the third quarter of this fiscal year. For those of you doing the math at home, that's a 33 percent year-over-year increase in revenue.
"We posted our first billion dollar quarter and record annual revenue in 2010, driven by outstanding performance across all of our major businesses," said Shantanu Narayen, president and CEO of Adobe. "Adobe is transforming how the world is creating, measuring, and delivering digital experiences. We are one of the most diversified companies in the world and are entering 2011 with strong momentum."
Looking ahead, Adobe said it's targeting revenue of $1 billion to $1.05 billion in the first quarter of fiscal 2011.
Flash is often the villain in any tale of technological woe. It eats battery, hogs resources, and can even make your system vulnerable to malware. Well, the new version of Chrome can at least address that last issue. The version of Chrome for Windows that was just pushed to the beta channel sandboxes Flash and other plug-ins so they are less able to harm your system. Any malicious code will be unable to spread beyond the tab it enters through.
Google has been talking about making this change for months now. Google recognizes that plug-ins are a real security threat, and if Chrome is to keep accumulating market share, they need to address it. Chrome will now keep Flash up to date in the background in the same way the browser itself is kept updated.
Flash might not be perfect, but we support any effort to make it safer. What's your impression of Flash and Adobe's commitment to security these days?
PC enthusiasts already know the benefits SSDs bring to the table, but as it turns out, these flash-based drives are pretty awesome for consoles, too. To prove it, Beyond3d.com forum member "Phil" shoved a Corsair F120 SSD into his PlayStation 3 and fired up Gran Turismo 5 "since it allows a big chunk of the game to be copied onto the hard drive."
According to Phil's numbers, the SSD had a tremendous impact on load times, often cutting down the time spent waiting for a race to begin by half. Loading GT5 took 55 seconds with the stock hard drive, which was reduced to just 29 seconds with the SSD. Similar results were seen when loading the London track, in which the SSD cut the load time from 39.47 seconds to 19.26 seconds, as well as a handful of other tracks.
"Is it worth it? Not for me -- not for that price. Perhaps when SSDs become a cheaper, I may get one cheap one day for the PS3," Phil says. "I'm also not sure how optimized the PS3 file system is for SSD usage and how long such a drive would live. No way really to benchmark this, sadly."
Valid points, and it's worth mentioning that not all games are as hard drive heavy as GT5. Still, initial results are impressive, and we can only imagine how much better they would be if Sony (or Microsoft or Nintendo) built a console specifically designed to take advantage of SSDs.
Would you be willing to pay more for a console using SSDs, or do these gaming boxes cost enough as it is?
Patriot this morning sent us word that it's beefing up its LX series of microSD High Capacity (SDHC) line with 16GB and 32GB models, both which are rated as Class 10 cards.
"Today's mobile devices have evolved from simplistic phones to multi-functional tools capable of handling email, music, photos, and more," says Meng Jay Choo, Patriots's Flash Product Manager. "Smartphones have become a part of our everyday lives letting us connect with each other. Adding 16GB and 32GB storage solutions let consumers expand the capabilities of these devices."
Patriot says its 32GB card can record over 10 hours of HD video and more than 10,000 photos. And both cards will come a full SD adapter so they can be used in most digital cameras, HD camcorders, tablets, and anything else sporting an SD slot.
The said vulnerability, which can be used by an attacker to take control of the affected system, also affects Flash Player 10.1.85.3 (and earlier), but the hole in Flash has already been plugged with the release of version 10.1.102.64 earlier this month. Besides CVE-2010-3654, the updates also addressees a “potential issue” (CVE-2010-4091) in certain versions of Reader.
“Note that these updates represent an out-of-cycle release. The next quarterly security updates for Adobe Reader and Acrobat are scheduled for February 8, 2011,” said Adobe in the advisory.
There's still room for innovation in the USB thumb drive market, as Verbatim just proved with its new Store 'n' Go Clip-it USB drive. Use it as a tiny USB key to store digital files, and as a paper clip for your hard copies.
"We’re very excited to launch the Clip-it USB drive, a unique and ultra-convenient way for consumers to consolidate their digital files and paper documents at home and in the office," said Mark Rogers, Verbatim Product Manager, Flash. "The new unit makes it easy for users to keep all of their data in one place, and, with its diminutive size and light weight, the Clip-it is a great option for physically sending and sharing files."
At least in terms of capacity, Verbatim is taking a one size fits all approach by only offering the new drive in 4GB, though you do have five colors to choose from, including pink, green, blue, orange, and black. The drive will be available at the beginning of December for $20.