Price: Free, Premium service prices tbc
Adobe's Acrobat.com isn't a design tool, but being from the creative app giant and offering office-type tools that most creatives will need for the (boring) business part of their jobs, we knew you'd be interested -- so decided to take a look. Acrobat.com is a suite of collaborative applications is just out of Beta and features word processing, web-conferencing, PDF Creation, and File Storage apps. A quick test-drive shows promise, but reveals a lack a cohesiveness and key applications still in Beta.
Acrobat.com consists of five applications: Buzzword, Connect-Now, Create PDF, Share, and My Files, which are word processing, Web conferencing, PDF conversion, file sharing and file storage applications, respectively. Spreadsheet and presentation applications are also available, but not yet officially released.
The service offers three subscription levels: Free, Premium Basic (oxymoron alert!), and Premium Plus -- with the last two yet to be launched in the UK. The differences lie in the number of Connect-Now participants and the number of PDF documents that can be converted. In the US, Premium Basic runs $14.99 a month or $149 yearly versus $39 and $390 for Premium Plus. UK pricing and availability has yet to be announced
Buzzword is a slick, flash-based word processor. It is fairly intuitive and full featured, allowing easy manipulation of text, images, and tables. In other words, it is like every other word processor, which is not a bad thing. You can optionally export files to your local computer in a variety of formats including Word, HTML, RTF, and PDF. Sharing files with other users is a simple affair. Simply click on the share button, type in one or more e-mail addresses and specify each person as a co-author, reviewer or reader. You can also click on the "share with a wider audience" box and give access to anonymous users.
As a stand-alone application, I like Buzzword. However as a member of a suite of applications, I found a couple things frustrating. First, there is no obvious way to go from Buzzword back to the main Acrobat.com menu. Secondly, one would expect a saved document to be available in the file storage application. However a file created in Buzzword seems to live only in Buzzword.
Connect-now is the star of this suite, and the only application which currently makes it worth paying for. It is an easy to use web-conferencing application. It allows users to share an entire desktop, an application or a single window. When sharing my desktop with a multi-monitor configuration, it was intelligent enough to ask which monitor to use.