Adobe Air is an application that allows for the viewing of the integration of multi media like Flash, Ajax and other applications with data, but on your desktop and not tied to your browser and works on multiple operating systems.
Just like a Flash plug-in an Adobe Air plug-in is needed to view applications built using Adobe Flex. Although it is hard to wrap your head around exactly how Adobe Air is different from things like Flash or Shockwave, the big difference is that Adobe Air allows you to use the technology in free standing downloadable applications that are not tied to a browser. Adobe Air integrates the very best of multi media and interactivity through some of the newest web technologies, but not only the Web now on your desktop.
Although Adobe Air is not a hot property on the Web for browsing consumers at this point, it is a hot property for developers and being used as the backbone for new applications that are in the works.
Here’s a link to the Adobe.com website that showcases one Adobe Air product that was built for NASDAQ that will help you to understand what Adobe Air does. Built with Adobe Flex but played with Adobe Air this new breed of applications is coming and is sure to change the way you view and interact with data online and offline in the very near future.