Thursday, 26 June 2008 03:09

Adobe ships Acrobat 9 with Flash support but Reader 9 lags

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Adobe has shipped its new Acobat 9 document creation software, which is capable of supporting Flash applications, but strangely new owners will not be able to take advantage of the new features for a couple of weeks until updated free readers become available. Adobe is saying Reader 9 won't be updated until early July.

Acrobat is Adobe's PDF creation and manipulation software.

Including associated services, Acrobat currently accounts for 22 percent of the company's revenue ($US393.9 million of $US1777.3 million for the first half of financial 2008). Adobe has sold around 30 million Acrobat licences as of March 2008, according to a presentation given by Rob Tarkoff, senior vice president of Adobe's business productivity unit..

Aside from Flash support, key features of the new release include PDF Portfolios, and live collaboration.

By building Flash into Acrobat, Adobe has enabled users to include video and audio content in PDF files, as well as adding greater interactivity by incorporating Flash applications.

The idea behind PDF Portfolios is that a wide range of content can be assembled into a single PDF file for ease of distribution and use. Adobe suggests that a sales professional could use this feature to create a single proposal document for a prospective client that includes charts, spreadsheets and images, as well as a branded, introductory video from the CEO discussing the company’s latest products.

Collaboration features are enabled by www.acrobat.com, Adobe's suite of online services that is currently in public beta. One application is for a presenter to control the display of a PDF to ensure all participants are watching the same page.

what are your choices when buying Acrobat 9? Please turn to page 2 for the answer.


Acrobat 9 is available in three versions. Acrobat 9 Standard ($US299, Windows only) provides PDF creation, OCR (for scanned documents), encryption, use restrictions, PDF Portfolios, Flash, signing, forms and other familiar features.

Acrobat 9 Pro ($US449, Windows or Mac OS X - though some features are Windows-only) adds PDF Portfolio personalisation, redaction, XML forms, FLV and H.264 video, preflighting, and more.

The top-end Acrobat 9 Pro Extended ($US699, Windows only) goes even further with the inclusion of Adobe Presenter (converts interactive PowerPoint decks into PDF files), video to FLV conversion, 3D and CAD to PDF, and the creation of PDF maps from geospatial files.

Perhaps the biggest benefit of Reader 9 is that it is supposed to load twice as quickly as previous versions. That's a smart move on Adobe's part, because one of the main reasons people use other PDF readers is that Reader 8 takes so long to open.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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