There are few things in this world that get better and better over time. Wine comes to mind and so do vintage Porsches. When it comes to software though, it gets incrementally harder to improve quality. I think however that Flash Player 10.1, build 3 is an exception. (DISCLAIMER: I work for Adobe and while I attempt to always be unbiased, I may unintentionally not be completely neutral).
So what has been done? The major changes in beta 3 update include support for hardware video
decoding on more netbooks and PCs. From the product management (in their words):
"The Broadcom Crystal HD chip is a video decoder chip found in newer Pine Trail netbooks, like HP's Mini 210, while the GMA 500 chip is in many netbooks, from Dell's Mini 10 to Sony's Vaio netbooks and others."
There is also some enhanced hardware acceleration on many other hardware platforms and chipsets. What many people have noticed seems to be an improvement in performance on both PC and Mac devices although I have not yet run any tests. Tests are hard to run in any event due to the way the garbage collection works. Flash Player uses the same Mark-Sweep pattern as the Java Virtual Machine and just because something is "marked" as memory that may be reclaimed, it does not immediately get reclaimed until the memory is required. This is because in some cases, running the GC may take more CPU time than the memory being reclaimed would provide as a benefit (which is just good engineering).
On mobile, the peephole pattern is used to only render that which is currently in use on the display list's actively viewed area. This is a cool invention.
OK - enough of me talking. Time to get it for yourself and help us test it. We have an open bug database which we encourage you to submit and vote bugs to (BTW - there are a lot of bug fixes in the latest release). Get involved here:
LOG ISSUES: http://bugs.adobe.com/flashplayer/
Note that some of this blog post was copied from our internal briefing document. I do stuff like that because I am a lazy Adobe evangelist, I live in Vancouver and would much rather spend my time watching Olympic ice hockey this week ;-P