Adobe plans give Creative Suite 5 mid-cycle mobile juice

Adobe plans a mid-cycle release of its Creative Suite 5 that will give the application some mobile heft including the ability to code once and push a mobile app to Android, Apple's iOS and Research in Motion's Tablet OS.

Adobe plans a mid-cycle release of its Creative Suite 5 that will give the application some mobile heft including the ability to code once and push a mobile app to Android, Apple's iOS and Research in Motion's Tablet OS.

This mid-cycle release, dubbed CS 5.5, is expected to contain what has been dubbed "Flex Mobile," which will give developers the ability to code and push to multiple platforms. These mobile app publishing tools are already available in Adobe's Digital Publishing Suite. Adobe is merging features into CS 5. Adobe will also introduce subscription platform pricing for its suite to reach more cost conscious customers. That subscription pricing shows how Adobe's model is changing since it acquired Omniture. In other words, software as a service is becoming a bigger part of the mix and recurring revenue is the theme going forward.

On the Adobe's earnings conference call, Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen didn't provide the timing of the mid-cycle release for the Creative Suite mid-cycle release, but did say it will come "sooner rather than later." "I think we've been saying for a while that we are hearing from our customers that in order for us to enable them to deal with the multiscreen revolution that's happening, to deal with all of the multiple formats, we've been asked to provide more frequent releases," said Narayen.

JMP Securities analyst Patrick Walravens sums up the Adobe changes:

The main positive from the call is that Adobe plans a mid cycle release of CS5, which we believe will include "Flex Mobile", a next generation application development tool that allows developers to code a mobile app once and then publish it as an Android, BlackBerry Tablet OS, or Apple iOS application. We saw a beta version of this product demonstrated at DreamForce and believe it should help Adobe increase its appeal to the 6 million developers worldwide. Second, with the midcycle CS5 update it appears Adobe will be introducing subscription type pricing worldwide. Adobe has had success with subscription pricing in Australia, and in the long term subscription type pricing means that a higher percentage of Adobe’s revenue will be recurring. Today, recurring revenue is a little less than 20%.

In a nutshell, Adobe is taking the technology in its Digital Publishing Suite, which targets multiple screens, and dropping it in CS5.

Narayen said:

The Digital Publishing Suite publishes to Android tablets, including Motorola Xoom and Samsung Galaxy Tab, as well as iOS devices and, in the future, to the RIM PlayBook when it is made available. We will continue to expand our content authoring offerings by providing a mid-cycle release to CS5. The release will enhance our Digital Publishing capabilities, help customers address the multi-screen challenges they face and include new innovative features in areas like HTML and Flash authoring, application creation and video authoring and production.

One of the pillars of our content authoring strategy is to continue to invest in HTML as a key part of our tools portfolio, and we made a Flash-to-HTML converter available last month. We anticipate this tool can be used by Flash designers and developers to extend their work in Flash to platforms that do not yet support the Flash Player.

Narayen's game plan is clear: Keep Adobe relevant to developers even if Flash isn't adopted everywhere. So far, so good.

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