October 24, 2006

Adobe starts testing its new Document Reader !!

[My document reader looks like this.. cool !!!, Its light weight too.. just 2.5 MB download..]

Adobe on Tuesday released a beta version of Digital Editions, a Web application built in Flash that is designed to make reading electronic documents easier. The tool acts like a slimmed down version of Adobe Reader, and can even display PDF files.

Digital Editions, unveiled at Adobe's MAX 2006 conference in Las Vegas, is only 2.5MB in size. It's not intended to replace the bulky Reader, but rather to extend its feature set. It utilizes the same e-book capabilities Adobe built into Reader, and adds Flash to make digital publications interactive.

The application integrates with both Adobe Acrobat 8 and Reader 8, which can launch Digital Editions from within their respective user interfaces.

Along with displaying PDF, Digital Editions supports a new XHTML-based reflow-centric publication format that can adjust content depending on screen size. For example, a single-column page can be displayed across three columns on a widescreen display.

Although e-books have largely failed to take off following their introduction in the 1990s, companies are once again pushing the technology. This time, however, the focus is now on the digital publication, such as magazines or newspapers. The idea is to build software that makes them easier to navigate and view online.

"By creating a specialized, consumer-friendly application like Digital Editions, Adobe is ensuring publishers can securely deliver high-impact content to the widest possible audience, across hardware platforms, operating systems and devices," remarked Adobe president Shantanu Narayen.

The software fully supports Adobe's digital rights management for documents, enabling publishers to control who can view content and employ a number of business models including subscriptions and advertising. Like with music DRM, the technology utilizes an ID based system that requires end users to authenticate themselves.

Digital Editions is available free of charge, with a beta release currently offered for Windows. A version for Mac OS X is expected to follow later this year, with a Linux version planned next year following the release of Adobe Player 9 for the platform.