Adobe Intros Acrobat 9, Launches Acrobat.com Beta
Adobe Monday announced details of its forthcoming major revision to the entire Acrobat family: Acrobat 9. The company also debuted a new Acrobat.com collaboration beta site and announced an updated Creative Suite (version 3.3), which will incorporate the upcoming Acrobat 9 Pro software.
Acrobat 9 and Creative Suite 3.3
The new versions of Acrobat 9--Acrobat 9 Pro Extended, Acrobat 9 Pro, and Acrobat 9 Standard--incorporate a number of functional and workflow improvements that are designed to expand the range of collaboration tools available to users and broaden support for multimedia.
We spoke with an Adobe education representative, Bob Regan, director of Worldwide K-12, who told us that the new features are particularly geared toward expanding the software's functionality for students in the areas of collaboration and the creation of electronic portfolios.
The process of creating portfolios in Acrobat has been simplified in the new version and includes:
- Support for Flash video;
- The ability to embed PowerPoint presentations (without converting them);
- Pre-designed templates for portfolios;
- The ability to add descriptions in Edit view; and
- Support for a variety of media in one PDF portfolio, ranging from still images and video to 3D objects and spreadsheets.
Other new features include:
- A new form wizard;
- Form submissions through e-mail, with a tool that also allows for the tallying of responses to forms;
- Built-in 3D object support (Extended only);
- Adobe Presenter included with Extended;
- Enhanced fidelity when embedding Web pages;
- New 256-bit document encryption;
- Redaction tools for permanently removing sensitive information for documents;
- Automated tools for previewing, preflighting, and otherwise preparing PDF files for print;
- The ability to verify PDF standards via a new PDF Standards pane;
- The ability to create and validate accessible documents; and
- Various performance improvements.
Significantly, the new version also eliminates the fee for enabling form saving in Acrobat Reader. This will allow users to fill out electronic, PDF-based forms and save those forms with the fields filled out. The form creator no longer has to pay to enable this feature.
Acrobat 9 also enables certain collaborative features available through the new Acrobat.com beta Web site. (See below for more information.)
Acrobat 9 Pro Extended, Acrobat 9 Pro, and Acrobat 9 Standard are expected to ship in July for Windows in English, French, German, and Japanese. The Mac OS X lineup, also slated for July, will not include Pro Extended, but will include Pro and Standard editions. Acrobat 9 Pro Extended will sell for $699; Acrobat 9 Pro will sell for $449; and Acrobat 9 Standard will sell for $299.
Educational pricing for each version will be discounted significantly. Acrobat 9 Pro Extended will run $229 (term site license: $24, with 100 unit minimum); Acrobat 9 Pro will run $159 (term site license: $15, with 100 unit minimum).
Creative Suite 3.3, incorporating the new version of Acrobat, will also begin shipping in July. These include Adobe Creative Suite 3.3 Design Premium, Creative Suite 3.3 Design Standard, Creative Suite 3.3 Web Premium, and Adobe Creative Suite 3.3 Master Collection.
Further information about the Acrobat 9 family can be found here. Further information about Acrobat 9 for education can be found here. Further details about the new editions of the Creative Suite can be found here.
Acrobat.com Beta Enables Sharing, Collaboration
Adobe also today launched the Acrobat.com public beta, a new Web site aimed at enabling collaboration and sharing of documents created in Acrobat 9 and providing a range of communications and document creation tools.
Acrobat.com is a hosted service that provides tools for file sharing and storage, PDF conversion, online word processing, and Web conferencing. For Acrobat users, the site provides a "personal workspace" that enables shared reviews of PDF documents, synchronization of document views, form sharing, form data collection, and PDF document comparisons.
Other features at Acrobat.com include:
- Adobe Buzzword, an online word processor;
- Adobe ConnectNow, a personal Web conferencing solution with desktop sharing, chat, and video and audio conferencing; and
- Free conversion of up to five PDF documents per account.
Adobe representatives declined to comment of whether Acrobat.com's aim was to take on Google and Microsoft directly in the Web application space. Developer APIs are available for collaboration, file sharing, and document conversion.
Acrobat.com is currently available free. Further information (including free registration) is available here.