Adobe's new ebook reader ratchets up fight against Kindle

The new Adobe Reader Mobile 9 SDK is aimed at smartphones and handhelds

Adobe Systems this week announced its second major move in the e-book market in the last five months as the multimedia software vendor looks to build a consortium to take on Amazon.com and its market-leading Kindle e-book reader.

On Monday, Adobe released a new Adobe Reader Mobile 9 that improves how smartphones and handheld devices display books and other documents that use the open PDF format created by Adobe.

Adobe Reader Mobile 9 replaces the prior Reader LE as the mobile counterpart to the Adobe Digital Editions reader for desktop PCs.

For ebook lovers, the most important new feature in Reader Mobile 9 is PDF reflow, which automatically shrinks and reformats pages for the small screen so readers don't have to pan and zoom around overly-large pages, Anup Murarka, director of partner development and technology strategy at Adobe's platform business unit, said in an interview last week.

For developers, key features in Adobe Reader Mobile 9 include support for the .epub XML document standard that is catching on with libraries and publishers, and compatibility with Adobe Content Server 4, the company's ebook management software.

Companies licensing the software development kit (SDK) for Reader Mobile include Sony, whose Sony Reader is widely considered the second most popular model on the market today, and Lexcycle, maker of the free Stanza ebook software that turns Apple's iPhone into an ebook reader. Lexcycle claims Stanza has 1.3 million users.

Most other leading ebook hardware makers are also licensing the new SDK, according to Adobe, including Bookeen; iRex; Plastic Logic; and Polymer Vision.

Adobe has no plans to make a Kindle-like device. Rather, as with products such as Flash, Adobe hopes to profit by giving away Reader Mobile in order to sell back-end software to publishers and booksellers, in this case, Content Server 4, which it released last September. The software protects PDF and .epub formatted ebooks from piracy while granting book publishers and sellers multiple ways to license their wares. It also helps manage distribution of ebooks through the Web to PCs and devices.

Not falling into line with Adobe's ambitions is Amazon, which develops and requires publishers to support its own proprietary ebook format for the Kindle. Kindles can display PDFs, but won't support automatic text reflow and DRM, since Amazon doesn't license Adobe's technology.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags adobeebookamazonkindle

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Eric Lai

Computerworld
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?