Adobe has announced the simultaneous release of betas for AIR 2 and Flash 10.1.

The arrival of Flash Player 10.1 is likely to steal the headlines, although the second incarnation of AIR – which according to Adobe is on 200 million machines – is also a key milestone for the company.

Flash Player 10.1 is, as Adobe terms it, the 'first consistent browser runtime release of the Open Screen Project that will enable uncompromised Web browsing of expressive applications, content and high definition (HD) videos across the desktop and devices'.

This means HTTP streaming, along with tweaks so that Flash Player 10.1 can take advantage of hardware decoding of video on Windows PCs.

AIR apparent

AIR – which stands for Adobe Integrated Runtime - allows develops to build rich internet applications for the desktop.

Its successor will bring more tools, including support for mass storage devices, peer to peer networking support and UDP networking, and allow simple upgrade of AIR 1.0 applications.

Adobe AIR 2 and Flash Player 10.1 also bring the opportunity for developers to make applications that use multi-touch points and gestures on touch screen devices – a key improvement.

Important step

"With the beta availability of Adobe AIR 2 and Flash Player 10.1 today, we are taking an important step toward realising the Open Screen Project vision to enable rich Internet experiences across any device, anywhere," said David Wadhwani, general manager and vice president, Platform Business Unit at Adobe.

"Content creators will provide multi-screen experiences with uncompromised Web browsing and standalone applications across desktops and netbooks, and in the near future across a wide range of mobile devices."