AIR for Mobile has a long history of wonky performance, especially on iOS and the early versions. It’s like a lot of new technologies especially given the complex technology behind it – it takes time to mature and evolve. Stage3D finally arrived in the latest AIR 3.2 RC version, and apps are getting approved that demonstrate it is possible to have true, full cross-platform GPU acceleration.

APEXvj is an example that first and foremost shows some rich 3D visualizations performing amazingly well on both iOS and Android, but also includes a Stage3D accelerated UI – which I think is personally a very interesting direction.

Once you play with the application, it’s not just that the UI feels extremely native, the visualizations let you doubt this could be an application authored with AS 3.0. But it’s the case, as author Simo Santavirta describes in his blog post.

Well there are many reasons to use Flash. Firstly I can use same codebase for iOS, Android, Desktop and Browser. Most like this list will grow in the future. Plus I have over a decade of experience in ActionScript. This means I know everything about it. The development is fast and easy. Result is optimized. [via]

Adobe Mobile AIR Stage3D is fast. Flash on mobiles have limitations and that’s CPU. Also obviously GPU is not even close to desktop performance. But when done right a lot can be achieved.

Not fast enough? Here are more details about Alchemy.

Adobe will also productize “Alchemy,” an Adobe research project that allows users to securely execute high-performance C and C++ code with the reach of the Flash runtimes. The commercial release of Alchemy will offer significantly better performance and productivity over the Labs prototype, including full debugging support and up to 75% reduction in code size. [via Digital Media Blog]

And details about Flash Player Next in the runtime roadmap white paper.

The primary goal of this work is to provide a modern implementation of the core Flash runtimes and the ActionScript virtual machine in order to significantly improve script execution performance and provide a foundation on which Flash can move forward over the next decade. [var Flash Runtime Roadmap]

One thing is clear though – the key to native performance on mobile will be via Stage3D.

Another great example is Winter On Whale Island, which just launched in the App Store. It’s fully Stage3D accelerated as well, and smooth as butter. Even though it doesn’t use any complex animations or even 3D, it feels native.

UI frameworks running on top of Stage3D seem to be the future of GPU accelerated AIR applications. One of the first frameworks named Foxhole became available on github, and it already started discussions on the Apache Flex mailing list.

APEXVJ on iOS and Android.

Winter On Whale Island for iPad.