Creative Cloud Chronicles: Adobe Kills Photoshop Touch, Reaches for a Star

By Chris Dickman
Founding Editor, Graphics.com

More Creative Cloud Chronicles

Last June the launch of Creative Cloud 2014 included a wide range of updates and additions, not least of which was the Creative SDK (Software Development Kit) which Adobe described as "a rich set of iOS components creating a new era of connected creativity and a seamless workflow between your mobile applications and Adobe Tools and Creative Cloud services." This, plus the November acquisition of Aviary, which had developed its own SDK that provided developers with a photo editor that could be embedded into apps on iOS, Android, Windows and Web (HTML5), sounded promising. Indeed, for iOS users there has been a steady stream of new apps and enhancements to existing ones. But for Android users? Not so much.

Perhaps the snafu was that the Adobe Creative SDK was just for iOS. But whatever the issue the drought could soon be ending, with Adobe having stated last month that, "We’re working hard to develop Android phone support for some of our most popular apps. But we want to do it right, in a way that complements the strengths of the Android user experience and design. While we can’t offer specific release dates, you should expect to see the first of these apps starting in Summer 2015. We’re also eagerly developing an Android version of the Creative SDK, which powers both Adobe and third-party apps." Hopefully developers will adopt it, since the current list of third-party apps that makes use of the iOS version is surprisingly thin.

In light of that, it's welcome news that Adobe has now announced that Photoshop Touch for iOS and Android will no longer be available as of May 28. Touch was introduced almost three years ago, with a meager feature set and only modest updates. At the time a price tag of $10 seemed justified for an app bearing the trusted Photoshop name but with limited functionality and a growing number of competitors, many of them cheaper or even free, Touch was doomed. Even Adobe seemed to lose interest, turning its attention to launching (and often later abandoning) a slew of apps that each performed just a few core tasks.

Now it would seem that robust photo editing is back on the table, with the teaser below showing promising functionality from something currently called Project Rigel, due late this year. The blog post is vague but my assumption is that the app will be free and require a paid Creative Cloud subscription. Will it be available for Android? The post says only that, "Photoshop Touch was available across platforms and so I’d like to leave all of you on Android with some good news – we’re actively developing new mobile applications for Android and will share those with you very soon." Rigel is the brightest star in the constellation Orion. But whether its light will ever shine on Android users remains in doubt.