Adobe announces CS 5.5, with updates to Flash, HTML5, publishing tools and subscription pricing

This morning, Adobe announced an update to its Creative Suite family of products.

The new collection, named CS 5.5, marks a shift in Adobe’s strategy when it comes to its flagship product line. Adobe now plans to have “milestone” releases every two years (starting with CS 5.5) and “significant” mid-cycle releases. The company says this will help keep the creative community “ahead of the latest advances in content authoring.”

(I’m not sure how anyone can be ahead of the latest advances, but that may just be me.)

Beyond this philosophical shift, CS 5.5 brings several improvements to the applications many designers and creative types rely on.

New Features, Old Rhetoric

Creative Suite 5.5 Web Premium Suite includes new tools for building mobile applications on Android, BlackBerry Tablet OS, iOS and other platforms. If you recall, apps built with non-Apple tools were once in danger in the App Store.

Adobe is pushing its proprietary Flash software in this release:

With more than 131 million smartphones expected to have Flash Player installed by the end of the year, Adobe Flash makes it possible to bring rich content to desktops and devices inside the browser. Flash Player is supported on Android, HP webOS and Google TV today. BlackBerry Tablet OS, upcoming versions of Windows Phone, Samsung SmartTVs and others are expected to support Flash Player in the near future.

Of course, Adobe Flash has been “coming soon” for Android for some time. While it is out and functioning on several Android handsets, it is by no means universally present on non-Apple smartphones.

Creative Suite 5.5 Design Premium Suite — mainly InDesign — includes new tools for digital publishing. Many major iPad magazine apps use this technology. Sadly, many of these apps are huge and don’t allow for simple copying of photos or text.

The Tablet Component

Adobe Photoshop Touch Software Development Kit was also announced today, designed to give developers an easy-to-use SDK for building tablet apps that interact with Photoshop from Android, BlackBerry PlayBook and iOS devices. This includes having palettes and tools on a tablet, freeing up space on the computer screen for images. Adobe also announced three new iPad applications that demonstrate the creative possibilities of using tablets to drive common Photoshop workflows – Adobe Color Lava for Photoshop, Adobe Eazel for Photoshop and Adobe Nav for Photoshop.

Subscription Apps

If you need a CS 5.5 app for a short period of time, or just want to try them out, Adobe has included a new subscription-based model: Photoshop for $35 per month, Design Premium CS 5.5 for $95 per month, or Creative Suite 5.5 Master Collection for $129 per month.

This is clearly in play to help curb pirating of Adobe products.

In Conclusion

I — like many others — use CS 5 almost every day at work to create print and web materials. While I appreciate these new features (even though most don’t fit into my personal workflow), I would love to see Adobe spending time on the Mac versions of their products. Currently, CS 5 has major issues when run in conjunction with mobile home folders hosted on an OS X Server machine. This leads to issues in the enterprise and educational markets — two huge customer bases for Adobe. Additionally, even on single Macs, Adobe users often face permission issues, crashes and unexpected behaviors. I’d gladly trade the tablet Photoshop apps for some stability in these programs.

Article Via The Loop

Stephen Hackett, formerly a Lead Mac Genius at Apple, now spends his days running the IT department of a large non-profit in Memphis, TN. He writes about Apple, design and journalism at Like all twenty-somethings, you can find him… Full Bio