Adobe Releases Creative Suite 5.5

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Apr 11, 2011

Only a year after the release of Creative Suite 5, Adobe has announced a mid-cycle update dubbed Creative Suite 5.5, and there are a few key highlights worth noting.

Addressing the rapid adoption of tablet devices and smartphones, support has been added across a number of Creative Suite applications for designers incorporating these mediums in their design repertoire.

New features in Dreamweaver include support for HTML5 video and the ability for multi-channel preview which helps to promote the design-once concept. Each preview window is customizable to replicate the expanding number of devices and resolutions available.  This new capability will be especially of interest to marketing and publishing designers who are facing the need to incorporate considerations for these devices earlier in the workflow.

Features to assist in the horizontal and vertical flipping in tablets were added to InDesign, as well as live Web feed and the ability to incorporate interactive animations. Designers won’t need to own a tablet device to preview their designs with the Adobe Content Viewer available in Apple’s App Store.

For those who like to play with their devices while they design, Adobe is also releasing a few appsfor the Apple iPad that will allow pros to incorporate tablets into their workflow to create, iterate, and present their work. The three initial apps are focused on Photoshop and include Adobe Color Lava for mixing new colors and creating color swatches and Adobe Eazel to create paintings leveraging the Photoshop fluid dynamics engine. The design space is extended when syncing the device and app with any computer running CS5.5 is accessible through a wireless connection. This is especially of interest to the third app, Adobe Nav, which can access the Photoshop toolset to create new and edit files that are currently open in the desktop version. Apps are sold separate from the Creative Suite in Apple’s App Store. A new software development kit, Photoshop Touch, is also available so developers may create Creative Suite-linked mobile apps for RIM, Android, iOS, and desktop platforms. 

One of the challenges with Adobe’s product line, especially for smaller businesses and freelancers, has been the product update lifecycle and the cost associated with upgrades. With CS5.5, Adobe finally addresses this issue by creating subscription plans to the software suite with a number of different options to fit individual needs. Plans are available for the complete Suite or individual products and are available through one-year agreement pricing or month-to-month plans.

An example of the new subscriber pricing: CS5.5 Design Standard is available to annual subscribers for $59 a month, or month-to-month subscribers for $99 a month. This offering signals the impact that pay-as-you-go, Software-as-a-Service subscription plans have had on traditional software licensing models, and ultimately broadens the access to Adobe’s advanced design tools by offering more flexible options. 

As the market evolves ever more rapidly, creative professionals’ needs are changing just as fast. Adobe is trying to address this issue by offering a mid-cycle update release that actually delivers a number of useful, powerful features. To help those professionals be more agile, Adobe has also launched subscription pricing plans that make less of an upfront dent in users’ pockets. This mix of interim releases combined with more flexible pricing models aims to help creatives meet changing market needs quickly and effectively.

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