adobe air realin 300x158 Adobe Air hits 2.0   this is powerful stuffAdobe has launched the beta version of Air 2.0 – and it’s pointing to a very interesting future…

It’s hard to believe that it’s less than two years since version 1.0 of Adobe’s Air platform launched. Since that launch in January 2008 it’s become invaluable for many Twitter users thanks to its use as the basis of apps like Tweetdeck and Seesmic Desktop. It’s become widely used by other types of app too.

What’s most interesting about Air is that it means developers don’t really have to worry too much about the operating system their end users are working with – as long as they have Air installed they’re good to go.

If Air becomes more powerful, a wider range of apps can be created for it and they can all be available to just about anyone with a modern computer. That means better choice of apps for users and a much bigger potential audience for developers.

So, what are the new features in Air 2.0? The most interesting ones are:

  • Support for the detection of mass storage devices.
  • Advanced networking capabilities like secure sockets, UDP support, and the ability to listen on sockets.
  • Support for native code integration.
  • The ability to open a file with its default application.
  • Multi-touch and gesture support.
  • New APIs for access to raw microphone data.
  • Webkit update with HTML5/CSS3 support.
  • Improved security and support for enterprise and government standards.

Many of these changes mean Air is increasingly a fully fledged ‘operating system sitting on an operating system’. Support for things like mass-storage devices and native code integration increase the ways Air apps can integrate with the hardware they’re running on. Support for raw microphone data means we could see VoIP and music production apps running on Air in the future.

ReadWriteWeb has some practical examples of the potential of Air 2.0.

The “Write once run anywhere” ideal is becoming increasingly exciting. With Air and the increasing number of browser-based apps out there it’s becoming increasingly irrelevant what OS you’re running.

In five years’ time we may well look back and laugh at the Windows vs Mac vs Linux squabbles of today – we could all be living in a computing utopia where everyone picks whatever machine and underlying OS they like and gets the same experience.

Oh, one more thing – just because Air 2.0 supports multitouch don’t expect to see it on any Apple Tablet that might appear soon. Apple and Adobe are pretty much sworn enemies these days so it’s far more likely that you’ll be rocking Tweetdeck on a Microsoft Surface.