What is Adobe Flash Player?

Adobe Flash Player (labeled Shockwave Flash in Internet Explorer and Firefox) is freeware software for viewing multimedia, executing rich Internet applications, and streaming video, audio and metadata content such as subtitles and closed captioning created on the Adobe Flash platform. Flash Player can run from a web browser as a browser plug-in or on supported mobile devices.

Flash Player is a common format for games, animations, and GUIs (graphic user interfaces) embedded into web pages. Flash Player can be downloaded for free and its plug-in version is available for recent versions of web browsers such as Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera and Safari on selected platforms. Each version of Adobe Flash Player is backwards-compatible, making it possible to access material archived on older systems for such uses as reference and transcription.

Flash Player can run from a web browser as a plug-in or on supported mobile devices, and standalone application versions are also available for Windows and Mac OS X. Flash Player runs SWF files that can be created by Adobe Flash Professional, by Adobe Flex or by a number of other Macromedia and third-party tools. Flash Player was created by Macromedia and developed and distributed by Adobe Systems after its acquisition. Flash Player supports vector and raster graphics, 3-D graphics, an embedded scripting language called ActionScript, and streaming of video and audio.

Flash Player executes and displays content from a provided SWF file, although it has no in-built features to modify the SWF file at runtime. It can execute software written in the ActionScript programming language which enables the runtime manipulation of text, data, graphics, sound and video. The player can also access certain connected hardware devices, including web cameras and microphones.

Flash Player is used internally by Adobe Integrated Runtime (Adobe AIR) to provide a cross-platform runtime environment for desktop applications and mobile applications. Flash applications must specifically be built for the Adobe AIR in order to utilize 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.

MP3, Flash Video (FLV and F4V), PNG (Portable Network Graphics), JPEG and GIF files can be accessed and played back via Flash Player from a server via HTTP or embedded inside an SWF file.

Flash Player is available for many major desktop platforms including Windows XP and later, OS X 10.6 and later, Linux and Google Chrome. Flash Player is supported on mobile and tablet devices such as Acer, BlackBerry 10, Dell, HTC, Lenovo, Logitech, LG, Motorola, Samsung, Sharp, SoftBank, Sony and Toshiba.