Monday, September 22, 2008

Something's coming from Adobe and Google

I'll be following two big announcements tomorrow. First, Adobe will launch Creative Suite 4 at events around the world. In this column, I normally write about Flash Video, but the applications in Creative Suite, including Photoshop, Dreamweaver and Acrobat, are Adobe's true bread and butter. I've been using betas of Dreamweaver and Fireworks CS4 for some time; both products, which came from Macromedia in the Adobe-Macromedia merger, now look and feel more like Adobe applications. Whether that's better or worse depends on whether you prefer the old or new user interfaces. To my eye, the functionality of the CS4 applications has been modestly upgraded, at best. We'll know more tomorrow.

(Update 10:14 p.m. Pacific Time, September 22, 2008) Adobe has posted details of the new CS4 bundles on its website, prior to the announcement events tomorrow. As with CS3, there are seven bundles: Standard and Premium versions of the Web, Design and (Video) Production bundles, plus a Master Collection that includes everything. There are no bargains, either: Unless you were one of the few people who purchased 3.3 versions of the bundles, upgrades start at $499 for the Standard bundle versions, $599 for the Premium versions, and $899 for the Master Collection. If you're starting from scratch, the Standard bundles are $1,399, the Premium bundles are $1,699, and the Master Collection is $2,499. (All prices are in US dollars).

Image representing Android as depicted in CrunchBaseImage via CrunchBase
The bigger announcement, at least in terms of press interest, will be the T-Mobile/Google annoumcement of the first Android phone, the HTC Dream, and of the imminent completion of T-Mobile's 3G mobile service rollout throughout the U.S. Android phones will compete with iPhones and Windows Mobile-based smartphones at the top of the mobile phone food chain, and the Dream is rumored to sell for the same $199 price (on a two-year plan) as the base 3G iPhone. The Dream will have a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, which promises to make it easier to use for power emailers than the iPhone (yet most likely still at a disadvantage vis-a-vis the BlackBerry.) All of the applications in Google's Android store will be free, at least initially, and anyone can post applications (the countdown to the first Android malware has already begun.)

I've been playing with the Android development system on my PC for some time, but I'm reserving judgment on how the Dream performs until I get a chance to try it. I used to be a T-Mobile customer, and if the Dream lives up to the hype, I may well switch back. Again, more tomorrow.




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