Adobe has finally gotten around to announcing one of the worst-kept secrets in the mobile computing space: The next version of Adobe Flash will take advantage of GPU acceleration features to enable HD video playback on low power computers with NVIDIA ION graphics. This means if you’ve got a machine like the Acer AspireRevo desktop or HP Mini 311 laptop with an Intel Atom processor and NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics, you should be able to stream 1080p Flash video smoothly. Right now even some high bitrate standard definition video looks choppy and slideshowesque on these devices. Unfortunately, it looks like netbooks with Intel’s integrated graphics will be left out in the dust for now.
Flash Player 10.1 will support GPU acceleration for NVIDIA ION, GeForce, and Tegra devices, so the benefits won’t be limited to ION-powered netbooks. You should also notice lower CPU load on higher end computers with NVIDIA GeForce graphics. And while we haven’t really seen many devices based on NVIDIA’s ARM-based Tegra platform hit the streets yet, these upcoming Smartbooks should also be supported… and possibly even the Zune HD which has a Tegra chipset.
Adobe is also announcing the end of Flash Lite, which was a separate version of Flash designed to run on mobile phones. Instead, Flash Player 10.1 will be able to run on phones including those using the following operating systems: Google Android, Palm WebOS, Nokia Symbian S60, Windows Mobile, and BlackBerry. The iPhone isn’t supported yet because Adobe and Apple haven’t gotten down to adding support for Flash 10.1 to Safari, but that could still happen before Flash 10.1 is released… because it’s not expected to be widely available until the first half of 2010.
Update: You can find a video demonstrating HD Flash video playback on an HP Mini 311 laptop with NVIDIA ION graphics after the break, courtesy of Notebooks.com.