May 17, 2010

Photoshop for Android is worth it

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Written by: Brian Johnson
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Since its official release in 1990 — ironically, as a Macintosh-only product — the Adobe Photoshop brand has arguably become the gold standard in graphics editing software.

Photoshop.com Mobile, a bare-bones version of Photoshop for mobile devices, had its Android debut last November. Note that I didn’t notice the Android version’s “pinch to twist” limitation, mentioned here, on my Motorola Droid (running Android OS 2.1).

Despite Photoshop.com Mobile’s many features (see below), which strike an excellent balance between ease and functionality, the app seems to be a victim of the power and popularity of the Windows/Mac versions of Photoshop. A common complaint on the Android Market says that the app is “too basic”. Although there do seem to be legitimate compatibility issues between Photoshop.com Mobile and the new HTC/Verizon Droid Incredible, some users have inaccurately commented that the app is missing features (e.g. stating that the app cannot adjust the contrast of images, when it actually can).

Like OpenOffice.org, Photoshop.com Mobile has a misleading name. Neither online access nor a Photoshop.com account is required to use the app’s built-in photo editor, which includes the following functionality: cropping, exposure, saturation, tint, black and white, contrast, brightness, soft focus, and several interesting special effects. Additionally, Photoshop.com Mobile allows you to choose any one of your images and turn it into a wallpaper for your Android device.

There is, however, a social media component to the app which does require online access… By tapping the app’s ONLINE tab, you can “…upload, view, and share photos online from your phone.” By default, automatic upload of images to your Photoshop.com account is disabled in the app’s Settings menu. In my view, this is a great privacy-protecting feature. Incidentally, Adobe wisely recommends that you get an “unlimited data plan” from your cell service provider before using the app’s online features.

Attention Developers: As I reported earlier this month, the Android platform is becoming a potent weapon in Adobe’s war against Apple’s iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. In March 2010, Adobe made it possible for you to embed functionality from Photoshop.com Mobile into your apps.

About the Author

Brian Johnson
Robert has nearly 10 years experience as a self-employed technology consultant, though he recently "retired" from consulting to focus on his writing, and has been using a Motorola Droid from Verizon Wireless as his primary cellphone since November, 2009.


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