Adobe Updates Reader, Launches Web Conferencing Software

The latest version of Adobe Reader includes a link to the company's new Acrobat Connect collaboration software.

Adobe Systems on Dec. 6 announced two new software products that it says will help businesses exchange and communicate information in real time: Adobe Reader 8 and Adobe Acrobat Connect software.

Adobe Reader 8, available immediately as a free download, allows businesses to exchange critical information between enterprises, government agencies and consumers who are able to look at, print, search and digitally sign and collaborate with PDF files.

Adobe officials say the new version of the software includes an updated interface that allows users to tailor their tool bars to their liking, as well as the ability to fill and submit forms, store data and digitally sign documents.

"The new streamlined user interface and graphics acceleration in Reader 8 will enable people to more easily engage with ideas and information," Kevin Lynch, senior vice president and chief software architect at Adobe, said in a statement.

Adobe Reader 8 allows businesses to communicate critical data with their partners and customers inside and outside the firewall while also featuring graphics processing unit acceleration, which increases performance when looking at graphics-intense PDF files such as 3-D content, officials said.

/zimages/5/28571.gifClick here to read eWEEK Labs review of Acrobat 8 Professional Beta 1.

Reader 8 also includes a new "Start Meeting" button that will open up Adobe Acrobat Connect, also released on Dec. 6, which allows businesses to communicate and collaborate through real-time, interactive Web conferencing.

Acrobat Connect software allows business users to select a Web address for their online personal meeting room, hold unplanned meetings, and collaborate from a Web conference, Adobe officials said.

"Now with Acrobat Connect, we are advancing the world of web conferencing by allowing people to use personal meeting rooms as they would their offices," Tom Hale, senior vice president of the Knowledge Worker Business Unit at Adobe, said in a statement.

The Web conferencing software will provide users with screen sharing, whiteboarding, chat, video conferencing and audio conferencing tools.

More Web conferencing and collaboration tools can be found in Adobes Acrobat Connect Professional, which will offer businesses increased meeting management capabilities, the ability to hold meetings of up to 2,500 participants, and options to use interactive multimedia, integrated telephony and voice over IP.

Acrobat Connect Professional also offers customizable meeting rooms that give users the ability to modify the flow of a meeting and organize important content, officials said.

Acrobat Connect will be available in January of 2007 for a subscription price of $39 per month or $395 per year per personal meeting room. Acrobat Connect Professional is available for $15,000, depending on configuration.

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