Is Adobe back in the hardware business?


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Adobe ReaderThe Gadget Guy reviews the latest technology for the government and explores related trends and hot topics.

Not many realize this, but Adobe started out in the computer hardware business. Its plan included making printers and desktop computers. But then one thing happened that changed the company’s fate forever. PostScript, the code Adobe developed to describe vector graphics on a printed page, became very popular among existing printer manufacturers such as Apple. It rapidly became a standard, as more and more manufacturers adopted it.

This, of course, lead to the introduction of the Printer Document Format, and the rest is history. Adobe became a software company, with such offerings over the years as Photoshop, Premiere, and acquiring Macromedia products, including Flash. In addition to its PDF Reader, which is arguably the most downloaded program of all time.

But now, it looks as if Adobe might be getting back into hardware. For a while, the company has been talking about two new products it is developing for use with the iPad. The “Mighty” is a pen stencil that will be connected to the cloud, so it keeps your files and settings wherever you go. And “Napoleon” is a ruler device that does not only work like a ruler, but also a t-square, drafter’s triangles and a compass. The two together could allow architects and engineers to use their iPads for drafting and designing, which is usually done on paper.

As VP Michael Gough put it in a video demonstrating the devices, even though we use more and more technology in our daily lives, when we want to sit down and think through things, we often go back to the tried-and-true pen and paper.

I think it’s a great move for Adobe to get back into the hardware arena by trying to renew interest in tablet input device hardware. Also, I think it’s fitting in a bookend sense Abode’s first hardware in decades is for use on an Apple product, as it was Apple who put out the first PostScript printer in the first place.

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