Adobe Systems is releasing software, called AIR, that will power potentially tens of thousands of applications that merge the internet and the PC, as well as blur the distinctions between PCs and new computing devices such as smart phones, the New York Times reports. Adobe sees AIR as a major advance that builds on its Flash multimedia software. Applications will look and run the same whether the user is at his desk or his portable computer, and soon when using a mobile device or at an internet kiosk, the company says. Applications increasingly will be built with routine access to all the web’s information, and a user’s files will be accessible whether at home or traveling. AIR is intended to help software developers create applications that exist in part on a user’s PC or smart phone and in part on servers reachable through the internet. To computer users, the applications will look like any others on their device, represented by an icon. The AIR applications can mimic the functions of a web browser but do not require a browser to run…

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