Adobe's new ebook reader ratchets up fight against Kindle

The new Adobe Reader Mobile 9 SDK is aimed at smartphones and handhelds

Adobe Systems this week announced its second major move in the e-book market in the last five months as the multimedia software vendor looks to build a consortium to take on Amazon.com and its market-leading Kindle e-book reader.

On Monday, Adobe released a new Adobe Reader Mobile 9 that improves how smartphones and handheld devices display books and other documents that use the open PDF format created by Adobe.

Adobe Reader Mobile 9 replaces the prior Reader LE as the mobile counterpart to the Adobe Digital Editions reader for desktop PCs.

For ebook lovers, the most important new feature in Reader Mobile 9 is PDF reflow, which automatically shrinks and reformats pages for the small screen so readers don't have to pan and zoom around overly-large pages, Anup Murarka, director of partner development and technology strategy at Adobe's platform business unit, said in an interview last week.

For developers, key features in Adobe Reader Mobile 9 include support for the .epub XML document standard that is catching on with libraries and publishers, and compatibility with Adobe Content Server 4, the company's ebook management software.

Companies licensing the software development kit (SDK) for Reader Mobile include Sony, whose Sony Reader is widely considered the second most popular model on the market today, and Lexcycle, maker of the free Stanza ebook software that turns Apple's iPhone into an ebook reader. Lexcycle claims Stanza has 1.3 million users.

Most other leading ebook hardware makers are also licensing the new SDK, according to Adobe, including Bookeen; iRex; Plastic Logic; and Polymer Vision.

Adobe has no plans to make a Kindle-like device. Rather, as with products such as Flash, Adobe hopes to profit by giving away Reader Mobile in order to sell back-end software to publishers and booksellers, in this case, Content Server 4, which it released last September. The software protects PDF and .epub formatted ebooks from piracy while granting book publishers and sellers multiple ways to license their wares. It also helps manage distribution of ebooks through the Web to PCs and devices.

Not falling into line with Adobe's ambitions is Amazon, which develops and requires publishers to support its own proprietary ebook format for the Kindle. Kindles can display PDFs, but won't support automatic text reflow and DRM, since Amazon doesn't license Adobe's technology.

Tags amazonebookkindleadobe

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Eric Lai

Computerworld

1 Comment

Anonymous

1

Not sure that I buy the fact that Adobe PDF is "open"

The original Sony Reader should have had the ability for re-flow of PDF docs built in. Adobe PDF is open as long as its opened under its control. PDF does not have a choice at this point, other formats are gaining steam. It is sad that nobody bothers to improve something until threatened with extermination. I have the original Sony Reader and its in a box in the garage because of how poor of a format PDF truely is. If I could actually read any number of the hundreds of PDFs I have on it I would use it every day. What a waste of $300 and I blame it entirely on PDF.

Comments are now closed.

Latest News Articles

Most Popular Articles

Follow Us

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Resources

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?