After heaps of media coverage, three public betas, and seven release candidates, Flash 10.1 has finally arrived in its final, production-ready iteration. The Flash 10.1 plug-in installer quietly popped up on the get.adobe.com/flashplayer page earlier today. Windows versions of the installer weigh in at about 2.5MB for Internet Explorer and other browsers.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock since last October, you’ll know about Flash 10.1’s killer feature: hardware H.264 video acceleration on Windows PCs with compatible graphics processors. The release notes for the latest release candidate list supported GPUs, which include Nvidia’s GeForce and Ion lines, AMD’s Radeon HDs, Intel integrated GPUs in 4-series and newer chipsets, and Broadcom Crystal HD video decoders.
Thanks to Flash 10.1, even underpowered ultraportables and some netbooks should now be able to play high-definition YouTube video. That functionality is long overdue, since hardware acceleration has been possible with other video formats for a good number of years now.