Adobe goes big with new product releases

Adobe Systems unveiled a slew of new software applications and upgrades as well as industry partnerships at the start of the Seybold Conference and Expo here Monday, including a release of its Adobe Acrobat Reader that enables users to view PDF (Portable Document Format) files on Pocket PC handhelds.

The San Jose-based maker of digital publishing software released Monday Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0 for the Pocket PC, the line of PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants) that run Microsoft's operating system for handheld devices. The new version of the Acrobat Reader, which is available now in beta version, resizes PDF documents to fit on a small screen and allows Pocket PC users to read, navigate and search those documents. A beta version of the Acrobat Reader for Pocket PC is now available for free download at http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/ppcbetareg.html.

The beta version runs on Hewlett-Packard Co.'s Jornada, Compaq Computer Corp.'s iPAQ and Casio Computer Corp. Ltd.'s Cassiopeia, Adobe said. The company has already released a version of the software to run on Palm Inc.'s operating system. That software has been downloaded nearly 1 million times, according to Adobe.

Adobe said Monday that Acrobat 5.0, PageMaker 7.0 and the newly announced InDesign 2.0 software products will let users create PDF documents specifically for Pocket PC devices. PDF files created in those applications will be automatically tagged with information regarding how those documents will appear on handhelds.

The company also announced Monday new releases of its design software and tools, including Adobe InDesign 2.0, Adobe Illustrator 10 and Adobe AlterCast -- the company's imaging server software that automates the manual task of creating, updating and reformatting images for the Web.

Adobe Illustrator 10 and InDesign 2.0, both software applications for designing and building Web sites and other graphical content, will be released in their latest versions in the fourth quarter of 2001 and the first quarter of 2002, respectively. Both will be the first major applications from Adobe that will run native on Apple Computer Inc.'s Mac OS X 10.1 operating system, according to a company statement. Adobe previously released the Acrobat Reader 5.0 for Mac OS X.

Adobe Illustrator 10 will be available sometime in the fourth quarter in the U.S. and Canada for US$399 in a full version and $149 for an upgrade. Adobe InDesign 2.0 will be available in the first quarter of 2002 in the United States and Canada. A full version of the software will cost $699. An upgrade will cost $99 for the first 90 days, and $149 thereafter.

As well as Mac OS X compatibility, InDesign will feature support for importing and exporting XML (Extensible Markup Language) files.

Adobe also said Monday it is teaming up with industry partners to makes its software more widely available. Three makers of server software said Monday they will incorporate the Adobe AlterCast server software into their products.

PictureIQ Corp. announced plans to release a server appliance incorporating Adobe AlterCast, the company said. Due out in the first half of 2002, the server appliance will power the updating and restructuring of graphical content on Web sites. Meanwhile, Documentum Inc. announced plans to integrate Adobe AlterCast with the Documentum 4i Web Content Management software. Finally, Interwoven Inc. also said it plans to integrate Adobe AlterCast with its TeamSite software for managing Web content.

Adobe said it plans to ship its AlterCast server software in the beginning of 2002 in North America only. The software will be priced based on its implementation. A single-CPU system will cost and estimated $7,500, while a large enterprise implementation will run as much as $60,000, Adobe said.

With more announcements on the way here from Adobe, the company's President and Chief Executive Officer Bruce Chizen is scheduled to give an afternoon keynote address on Tuesday at Seybold. His presentation will follow the day's first keynote by Apple executives Phil Schiller and Steve Jobs.

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Matt Berger

Computerworld

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