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Flash player 10 is here: impressive performance, new features

I was fully prepared for Flash Player 10 to be totally underwhelming, but it looks as though Adobe has gotten things right this time around.

After looking at the beta back in July, the new features - 3d effects, hardware acceleration, custom filters and effects - intrigued me. I also noted a slight improvement in performance on my workstation. You can view a full list of v10's features on Adobe's web site and try out some of them in an interactive demo.

The 3d draggable DVD case demo is interesting, but far from a perfect illustration of the new capabilities. Take a few seconds and flip it, and you'll notice the cover reappearing on the back and sometimes the bottom edge of the case. I don't doubt that the effects will improve with time, and it's still a promising start.

I'd like to see a more practical demo of the custom filters than what Adobe offers. Call me crazy, but I don't see much use in being able to watch a video clip with a mosaic or spherize filter applied. In the three months between the beta and final release, I expected a demo with a bit more impact.

What I didn't expect was Flash Player 10 actually making my MSI Wind and its piddly Atom CPU capable of finally watching stutter-free FLV clips on the web. Thanks to the new dynamic streaming quality of service abilities and the general performance enhancements, playback is silky smooth even on my underpowered netbook.

Overall, v10 is impressive, and reminds me how exciting Flash was when it first burst onto the scene. It's well worth the download.

Tags: adobe, flash, flash player, FlashPlayer, flv, streaming video, StreamingVideo