Today Adobe announced the next version of their Acrobat Family of Products which includes Adobe Reader as well as Acrobat Suite, Acrobat Pro, and Acrobat Standard. The version 10 will be henceforth written with the Roman numerical ‘X’. The most notable change in Adobe Reader X, apart from the new numbering scheme, is improved security brought about by the so called ‘Protected mode’.
Adobe’s senior director of product security and privacy explains:
With Adobe Reader Protected Mode enabled all operations required by Adobe Reader to display the PDF file to the user are run in a very restricted manner inside a confined environment, the “sandbox.” Should Adobe Reader need to perform an action that is not permitted in the sandboxed environment, such as writing to the user’s temporary folder or launching an attachment inside a PDF file using an external application (e.g. Microsoft Word), those requests are funneled through a “broker process,” which has a strict set of policies for what is allowed and disallowed to prevent access to dangerous functionality.
In addition, Adobe Reader X also adds new features that will help users work more efficiently with PDF files. Included in the latest Reader software are Sticky notes and Highlighter tools that enable users mark up PDF documents, add comments and share feedback. Keyboard shortcuts for common functions like print, or zoom, and new reading modes can now be accessed from within the browser.
According to the announcement, Adobe Reader X will be capable of interacting with complex PDF files that contain an even wider variety of content types, including drawings, email messages, spreadsheets, videos, and other multimedia elements.
Adobe will also start offering a new service through Reader that will allow users to share PDFs through an Adobe-hosted location on the web. Through this service users will be able to create PDF, securely share and store and even screen share.
Adobe also revealed that the upcoming Adobe Reader X will be available for Android, Windows Phone 7, and even the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet.
Adobe Reader X will be available for free download starting next month.