Flash 10.1 debuts amid debates about its future

While Apple calls the future of Flash into doubt, Adobe releases its latest version, offering hardware acceleration, private mode support, and better stability.

While Apple continues its aggressive campaign to call the future of Flash into doubt, Adobe has released its latest version of the content platform. Adobe Flash 10.1 is now available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

By some estimates, Flash powers more than three-quarters of the Internet's video and games. Adobe has had release candidates out for months, going through six previous release candidate versions, not to mention multiple beta releases. The most important improvement for Windows users is that the new version offers hardware acceleration, but the feature isn't fully supported yet on Macs. Adobe plans on supporting hardware acceleration for the H.264 codec, but it hasn't arrived yet. There's also cross-platform support for private browsing modes, which means that Flash will no longer keep cookies and other browsing tracks when used during track-free browsing sessions.

The other new features are also cross-platform, including more stable streaming video, peer-to-peer broadcasting, accelerometer and multitouch support, content protection for Windows-based businesses with streaming content, better out-of-memory management to prevent Flash-related browser crashes, and fewer buffer lags when streaming. The full list of changes can be read here.

Updated at 8:35 a.m. PDT to clarify hardware acceleration support for Macs.

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