Adobe, in a move to improve performance and reliability with their Flash products, has released a beta of their Flash Player. This version is 10.2.151. It is designed to reduce the CPU load of Flash on a computer, and I would guess, in particular the new MacBook Airs.

Adobe.Labs.Flashplayer

I went ahead and installed the beta. Typically when I would go to a Flash-laden website, like Mafia Wars on Facebook, the fans on my MacBook would spin up to just about full-speed. With the new beta, this remains unchanged.

This effect could be due to the fact that my MacBook does not have the necessary hardware acceleration that Flash 10.2 takes advantage of in order to reduce CPU load. This only occurs on Macs that have the NVIDIA GeForce 9400M, GeForce 320M or GeForce GT 330M graphics cards. If your Mac does not support any of the said graphics cards, software decoding will continue to be used.

There are a couple of new features available with Flash 10.2. The first is support for Microsoft’s upcoming Internet Explorer 9 and its hardware acceleration. The second, and more important, is the ability to support full screen on multiple monitors. What does this mean for most people? Nothing really. But for those of us who do have more than one monitor set up, you can now watch full screen content on the secondary monitor while still doing other activities on the primary monitor.

As a note, the Flash Player does not work with Google’s Chrome browser. This is because Chrome has its own flash player bundled in with the software. Therefore, installing the new Flash Player will not change the version within Chrome.

If you want to download the beta, or read the release notes, head over to Adobe Labs. Remember, this is a beta and it can have stability issues and be a security threat. Just remember that you use it at your own risk.

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