Adobe have opened AIR to public beta. Formerly known as Apollo, AIR basically takes those Rich Internet Applications (RIA) from the browser and runs them in a cross-platform desktop environment. The biggest advantage of Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR), over a browser, is that it allows developers to do things in their application that are “forbidden” (for security reasons) for a browser to do, like have local data storage. (AIR includes a SQLite-like database for this purpose.)
Development is basically the same as for RIA as browser deployment. AIR is the basis for Adobe’s upcoming Adobe Media Player. At least Adobe are “eating their own dog food” or more politely, proving their own technology is at least good enough for themselves!
AIR, like Microsoft’s Silverlight, is unlikely to directly affect many video professionals except that it will probably spawn a dozen players.