Los Angeles -- Adobe Systems Incorporated, this weekend announced the unveiling of a slightly smoother version of its Acrobat.com, which includes several major hosted-application system that includes 35 new features, designed to make working together across organizations even easier than before and its first mobile application.
Incorporating more than 35 customer-suggested features, all of which have been suggested by Acrobat.com's 6 million-plus registered users, access word processing and take advantage of a handy PDF converter application, which allows anyone vote up or down user-generated suggestions. The most notable addition is a new organizer, which consolidates all of the user's files and projects saved on Adobe's servers.
This release modifies the way people work when communicating and collaborating over the Web. In addition, Acrobat.com has included smartphone access, empowering people to get their work done from anywhere.
The service began as a gratis until this summer when Adobe started charging a monthly or annual subscription fee for the full complement of collaboration and file management applications through its Premium Basic and Premium Plus packages. It still offers some free services for users who require limited support.
The site, which incorporates a number of tools, containing word processing, PDF conversion, spreadsheets, and live Web meetings, has been revamped with a new architecture the company claims will help it scale beyond its 6 million existing users. Currently, it is garnering about 100,000 sign-ups a week, with about half those coming from the United States.
“Acrobat.com is about taking benefit of the Web's ability to connect people in new and powerful ways. Adobe's online tools give people the advantage of working together from anywhere, and from virtually any device. This release of Acrobat.com is another step in helping people collaborate and communicate with ease and flexibility,” said Rick Treitman, Director of Product Management for Acrobat.com.
The new file organizer includes some subtle changes, the most evident being a white background, which goes against the company's infatuation with using black or dark-gray backgrounds in its products, but which makes it easier to differentiate the text and file types. Treitman said users overwhelmingly complained about it being too dark and hard to read.
The new file organizer, a sea of white, features a new search tool that lets users wade through their files. (Credit: Adobe Systems)
Along with a new white background that is gentler on the eyes than the current dark background, other organizational goodies include a way to create lists, which Treitman likened to the playlist feature in Apple's iTunes software, since you can add files to multiple lists without changing their organization in your main file explorer. Files can either be dragged and dropped into these lists, or added through a right-click contextual menu.
In addition to other enhancements to Acrobat.com, Adobe is also launching its first mobile application for the site, designed for iPhones and BlackBerry handsets. It will enable mobile users to view and convert any file they have saved on Adobe servers, convert it to a PDF and fax it remotely. Users can also snap a photo with their camera and have it sent straight to their Adobe storage.
However, these refreshed features will not alter the cost of Adobe's Acrobat.com paid services, which run anywhere from $15 a month to $390 a year, depending on which of the two plans users choose.
Adobe, along with Google, Amazon and Microsoft, is competing to establish dominance in the rapidly flourishing hosted-service market—a sector that Gartner predicts will eclipse more than $19 billion in worldwide sales by 2011.