Adobe has released the beta version of Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR), formerly code-named Apollo.

Adobe AIR is a cross-operating system application runtime that allows developers to use HTML/CSS, Ajax, Adobe Flash and Adobe Flex to extend rich internet applications (RIAs) to the desktop. New features in the Adobe AIR beta include an embedded local database, PDF support, enhanced capabilities for JavaScript developers, and deeper integration with Adobe Flex.

The beta version of Adobe AIR and the Adobe AIR Software Developer's Kit (SDK) can be downloaded at no charge from here.

Adobe AIR along with Adobe Flex are cornerstones of Adobe's comprehensive RIA platform, which enables developers and designers to create and deliver rich, dynamic, branded content and applications across all major operating systems.

"Adobe AIR represents a new medium, as the best of the web and the best of the desktop come together," said Kevin Lynch, senior vice president and chief software architect at Adobe. "Adobe AIR expands the universe of possibilities for web developers who can now deliver a new generation of applications that work across operating systems and both inside and outside the browser, bridging the gap between the web and the personal computer."

The new beta version of Adobe AIR allows developers to incorporate PDF by leveraging Adobe Reader 8.1 functionality. Users will be able to view and interact with PDF documents within Adobe AIR applications similarly to how they interact with a PDF in the browser today. New capabilities such as support for transparent HTML windows, drag and drop support, and complete access to Adobe AIR and Flash APIs allow Ajax developers to create desktop applications.

Adobe AIR and the Adobe AIR SDK are available in English and offered for both Windows and Macintosh operating systems, future versions will be available for Linux as well as other languages.