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Adobe Takes HTML5 To The Cloud

Catching up to the software industry shift toward cloud, Adobe announces new services and tablet apps for creative pros.
Adobe CS 5.5: Evaluating Bundle, Feature Upgrades
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In an effort to remain relevant as desktop computing gives ground to cloud computing, Adobe on Monday announced two acquisitions, a Creative Cloud to augment its Creative Suite software, and a handful of touch-based tablet apps.

Even as the company released its previously announced Flash Player 11 and Air 3 updates, Adobe said that it had acquired Typekit, a online font provider, and that it has signed an agreement to acquire Nitobi, creator of the open-source HTML5-based mobile development framework PhoneGap and PhoneGap Build, a hosted development and app creation service.

In a conference call for the press, Adobe VP of product management Lea Hickman described the company's news as a major initiative that radically redefines the creative process. CTO Kevin Lynch called the company's Creative Cloud "a major component in the transformation of Adobe" in a statement.

It has been evident that Adobe needs to transform itself at least since early 2010, when Apple introduced its iPad and Steve Jobs, then Apple's CEO, made it clear that Adobe's Flash technology was not welcome on iOS devices.

[Adobe is also strengthening its enterprise offerings. Find out more in Adobe Buys EchoSign For Electronic Signature Technology.]

Jobs advised Adobe to put more energy into creating HTML5 tools because "[n]ew open standards created in the mobile era, such as HTML5, will win on mobile devices (and PCs too)."

And in a conference call for investors two weeks ago, Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen made it clear that he had taken Jobs' advice to heart. "With the shifting landscape that favors HTML5-based content and application delivery, we are doubling down in our investment in this area," he said.

Though Adobe secured Flash's future for several years at least with an agreement from Google to support Flash on Android devices, the company has been hedging its bet on Flash by developing HTML5 authoring tools like Edge and Muse.

With its acquisition of Nitobi, Adobe gains not only open source cred--the Phone Gap code is being donated to the Apache Foundation--but also a cloud service, Phone Gap Build, that promises revenue, something often hard to come by in the world of open source. Earlier this year, Adobe began offering its Creative Suite software on a subscription basis and its latest offerings represent a continuation of that trend.

Adobe's Creative Cloud remains somewhat hazy. Adobe is promising to reveal pricing and additional details in November. The company says the service "will become the hub for viewing, sharing, and syncing of files created by Adobe Touch Apps and Adobe Creative Suite, and includes 20 GB of cloud storage." It sounds a lot like a version of Apple's iCloud that will be tailored for content creation professionals.

Adobe's Touch Apps include six new content creation apps for Android tablets promised for November, with iOS versions to follow in 2012, assuming Apple allows them. The apps are: Adobe Photoshop Touch, Adobe Collage, Adobe Debut, Adobe Ideas, Adobe Kuler, and Adobe Pronto, along with the previously introduced Adobe Carousel.