Adobe Begins Public Beta of Photoshop CS3

The crown jewel of the Creative Suite can be downloaded in Windows and Universal Binary versions.

It's just one extended public beta after another in the graphics and publishing space, a trend that seems to have begun with, of all companies, Microsoft, which conducted a long beta for its Expression product several. Quark and Adobe soon jumped in, and the result has been an unprecedented opportunity to work with early versions of major photography and design applications.

With the final shipping release of Photoshop planned for spring of 2007, those putting the beta version through its paces will have plenty of time to come up to speed on new functionality. Also included is a pre-release version of an upgraded Adobe Bridge, as well as what's being called a "preview release" of the new Adobe Device Central, which lets users harness Photoshop for designing, previewing and testing mobile content.

It's notable that the download is available for both Mac Universal Binary and Windows Vista, speaking to the importance of tuning major applications to the operating system. According to John Loiacono, senior vice president of the Creative Solutions Business Unit at Adobe, “This beta gives customers an early chance to see the power of another great Photoshop release, optimized and tuned to run natively on the latest hardware and operating systems.”

Customers with a serial number from Adobe Photoshop CS2, Adobe Creative Suite 2, Adobe Creative Suite Production Studio, Adobe Design Bundle, Adobe Web Bundle or Adobe Video Bundle can download and use the beta until its expiration in the spring of 2007. Those without a serial number are not left out entirely, but can only run it for two days. The software can be downloaded on the Adobe Labs site, beginning from the early hours of Pacific Standard Time on December 15.

As if Photoshop wasn't enough, Adobe also released two new Web tools as betas. Adobe CSS Advisor is a Web-based community site designed to help participants identify and resolve browser compatibility issues, while the Adobe Spry framework for Ajax is pitched as a "designer-focused" solution for adding Ajax interactivity when developing dynamic Web sites.