Adobe touches the cloud with Creative tools

Adobe has introduced Creative Cloud, a set of hosted subscription services, along with touch-based apps for tablets

Adobe announced on Monday a suite of new touch-based design tools along with a set of subscription-based cloud services.

Adobe Photoshop Touch for Android

Adobe has introduced its Creative Cloud subscription services, along with touch-based tablet apps, including Photoshop Touch for Android (above). Image credit: Adobe

At the company's annual MAX conference in Los Angeles, CTO Kevin Lynch told delegates, "We're living in dramatic times, with a revolution in software, and a transformation across Adobe."

Describing the new services as "a major initiative that changes the way content is created", Lynch unveiled Adobe's Creative Cloud, a mix of hosted services aimed at professional designers, online communities and creative applications.

Designed to synchronise content across devices and web services, users will get 20GB of storage, which Lynch characterised as "all your stuff, wherever you are". Pricing for the service will be announced in November, and will include access to subscription copies of Adobe's Creative Suite desktop tools. Adobe is expecting to launch the service in 2012, with a beta in November 2011.

Touch-based apps

Lynch said that "touch is a big leap, removing the abstraction of mouse and keyboard and taking us back to physical interaction", before unveiling a suite of touch-based tablet creative applications.

We're living in dramatic times, with a revolution in software, and a transformation across Adobe.

– Kevin Lynch, Adobe

Adobe's suite of touch apps includes an Android version of its Ideas sketch application, which adds support for multi-hand gestures. Other tablet software includes Photoshop Touch for image editing; Carousel for image sharing; Kuler for generating colour swatches; Collage for creating design mood boards; Debut for sharing design presentations; and Proto, a gesture-based tool for creating interactive wireframe prototypes for web applications.

All the upcoming tablet applications synchronise content with Creative Cloud, sharing data with applications running on the desktop and will be available for both iOS and Android in time, with some launching first on Android.

Raft of announcements

Adobe's cloud services build on its existing Business Catalyst web-hosting service, adding tools for digital publishing and for working with web fonts. Adobe is buying web typography start-up Typekit as the basis of its web font service, which provides tools for licensing and managing fonts for use over the web.

Typekit chief executive Jeffrey Veen said this "[gives] designers assurance that fonts are compatible with current browsers and forward compatible with changes in technology". Typekit currently handles fonts from 60 type foundries, and says it delivers over three billion fonts a month across a million websites.

Lynch also unveiled a new Single Edition option for Adobe's Digital Publishing Suite, which he described as "not just tooling, also distribution". The Single Edition is aimed at individuals and smaller publishing houses and costs $395 (£257) per publication.

Using InDesign as a layout tool, articles are hosted in the cloud and can be worked on by several designers and editors before being published to iOS, Android and PlayBook. A free viewer application is available to preview content on devices.

Other announcements from MAX included an agreement for Flash and AIR to be installed on Samsung, LG and TiVo televisions and set-top boxes, as well as Adobe's acquisition of Nitobi, the developers of the open-source cross-platform mobile development tool PhoneGap.

Noting that PhoneGap would add to Adobe's HTML5 capabilities, David Wadhwani, general manager of the Digital Media Business Unit, told journalists, "Flash and HTML are both interesting for customers, and we need to deliver the best tools and runtime experiences with best practices for both. The world is one where Flash and HTML5 will be powerful cousins to each other."

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