|This article relies too much on references to primary sources. (March 2011)|
|Initial release||February 25, 2008|
|Stable release||18.104.22.1686 (November 11, 2014[±])|
|Operating system||Microsoft Windows
BlackBerry Tablet OS
BlackBerry 10 (Discontinued since OS 10.3.1)
Linux (Discontinued since v2.6)
|Platform||IA-32, x64, ARM and MIPS|
AIR is a cross-platform technology and AIR apps can be repackaged with few or no changes for many popular desktop and mobile platforms. On mobile devices, AIR supports many basic native hardware features, including GPU rendering, touch-screen gestures, camera and microphone, accelerometer, networking, and more.
Adobe AIR internally uses Adobe Flash Player as the runtime environment, and ActionScript 3 as the sole programming language. Flash applications must specifically be built for the Adobe AIR runtime in order to use additional features provided, such as file-system integration, native-client extensions, native window/screen integration, taskbar/dock integration, and hardware integration with connected Accelerometer and GPS devices. AIR enables applications to work with data in multiple different ways, including using local files, local SQLite databases (for which AIR has inbuilt capability), a database server via web services, or the encrypted local store included with AIR.
The latest version of Adobe AIR, Version 3, contains Adobe Flash Player 11, and is available for Windows (XP and newer) and OS X. Official support for desktop Linux distributions ceased in June 2011 with version 2.6.
In January 2009, Adobe claimed that there were over 100 million installations of Adobe AIR worldwide, and that "the majority of AIR runtime installations occur at the time the first AIR application is installed by a user". Adobe AIR is also included with all downloaded installations of Adobe Reader 9 (released in July, 2008), Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom, with no option for exclusion either in the download or in the installation.
The following table explains to what extent Adobe AIR can run on various mobile operating systems:
|Operating System||Prerequisites||Latest Adobe Flash Player||AIR Framework|
|Android||Android 2.3+, ARM Cortex-A8+ ||AIR 22.214.171.1247 (uses Flash Player 11.6)||Option 1: The AIR player can be embedded as a 'captive' runtime, which increases APK size but makes the application standalone.
Option 2: The runtime is not included with the app, and must installed as a separate app from the app market.
|Apple iOS||iOS 4.3 or later||AIR 126.96.36.1997 (uses Flash Player 11.6)||Not applicable: each app includes its own 'captive' runtime.|
|BlackBerry Tablet OS||None||AIR 3.1 (uses Flash Player 11.1)||Already pre-installed on each device.|
|BlackBerry 10||None||AIR 3.5 (uses Flash Player 11.1)||Already pre-installed on each device.|
Adobe provides a free AIR SDK for the development of AIR applications on supported desktops and mobile devices. The AIR SDK is an add-on library for ActionScript 3 which introduces additional functionality to support standalone application development. On mobile devices, this includes extensive mobile technology support, including touch-screen gestures, networking capability, support for devices' cameras, microphones, accelerometers, and more. However, as a non-native development platform, AIR does not provide direct access to native GUI elements such as navigation bars or controls. Native extensions can be utilized to access additional native resources (see below).
Adobe AIR applications can optionally be built with the Adobe Flex Framework. The FLEX framework is an integrated collection of stylable Graphical User Interface defined in MXML, data manipulation and networking components, and applications built upon it are known as "Flex" applications.
In 2011, the addition of Stage3D to the Flash Player allowed Flash and AIR apps access to devices' native GPUs for hardware acceleration. Several third-party frameworks have been developed to build upon the functionality of Stage3D, including the Starling Framework and Away3D. These frameworks are also compatible with AIR, and provide vital performance improvements to AIR apps published for mobile devices.
On mobile platforms, AIR apps can be augmented in functionality with the usage of AIR Native Extensions (ANEs). Native extensions are plug-in packages that provide an interface between an AIR app and native mobile code, allowing developers to access native features not otherwise usable in AIR, such as Apple Game Center or Google Cloud Messaging. Native extensions may be developed by anyone using publically available tools; some are distributed for free or even as open source, while others are sold commercially.
Adobe distributes two pieces of software that support the development of AIR applications in ActionScript:
Third-party development environments that target the AIR runtime are also available:
Adobe made a public preview release of AIR (then called Apollo) along with a software development kit (SDK) and extension for developing Apollo applications with the Flex framework, on March 19, 2007.
On June 10, 2007, Apollo was renamed to AIR and a public beta release of the runtime was launched. Public beta 2 of AIR SDK was released on October 1, 2007. Public beta 3, was released on December 12, 2007.
Version 1.0 of the Adobe AIR runtime and SDK was released on February 25, 2008.
Version 1.1 of Adobe AIR was released on June 16, 2008. This release included a number of new features including:
In addition, version 1.1 works on Microsoft Windows XP Tablet PC Edition and 64-bit editions of Windows Vista Home Premium, Business, Ultimate, and Enterprise.
Adobe AIR 1.5 was released on November 17, 2008. New capabilities included:
Released on February 24, 2009, AIR 1.5.1 was primarily a compatibility update that includes bug fixes and security updates.
Released on July 30, 2009, AIR 1.5.2 introduced a number of minor new features and compatibility issues. Some of the important fixes included:
Adobe AIR 1.5.3 was released on December 8, 2009. It included fixes for a number of compatibility and security related issues. The BBC iPlayer Desktop manager v1.5.15695.18135 is the first version to use AIR 1.5.3.
The Adobe AIR 2 public beta was released on November 16, 2009 followed by the beta 2 on February 2, 2010 and the release candidate on May 11, 2010. In addition, Adobe AIR for Android was announced on February 12, 2010. AIR 2 was officially released for Windows, Mac OS and Linux on June 10, 2010 and Android on October 8, 2010. It dropped the ability to run on PowerPC Macs.
Adobe AIR 2.5 was released on October 24, 2010 at the Adobe MAX 2010 conference.
Adobe released Adobe AIR 3.0 on October 3, 2011. AIR 3.0 added the ability to run on native 64-bit CPU architecture and use hardware accelerated graphics rendering, captive runtime, native extensions, JPEG-XR image format, LZMA compression for SWF files, and H.264 encoding.
Adobe released Adobe AIR 3.1 on November 11, 2011.
Adobe released Adobe AIR 3.2 on March 28, 2012.
Adobe released Adobe AIR 3.3 on June 8, 2012.
Adobe released Adobe AIR 3.4 on August 21, 2012.
Adobe released Adobe AIR 3.5 on November 6, 2012.
Adobe released Adobe AIR 3.6 on February 12, 2013.
Adobe released Adobe AIR 3.7 on April 9, 2013.
Adobe released Adobe AIR 3.8 on July 24, 2013.
Adobe released Adobe AIR 3.9 on October 8, 2013.
Adobe released Adobe AIR 4.0 on January 14, 2014. It was released to beta on October 30, 2013, code named Jones.
Adobe released Adobe AIR 14.0 on June 10, 2014.
Adobe released Adobe AIR 15.0 on September 9, 2014. It includes improvements to Stage3D technology, AIR Gamepad enhancements, and a new packaging engine for iOS apps that reduces compile times from minutes to seconds.