Adobe kills low-end Photoshop, urges users online

The image-editing powerhouse suggests users of its low-end software head online to now that Photoshop Album Starter Edition is discontinued. offers online image editing and sharing. offers online image editing and sharing. Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

Adobe Systems is discontinuing Photoshop Album Starter Edition, the lowest rung on its ladder of image-editing software products, and the company is nudging its users toward the online site.

Adobe launched Photoshop Album Starter Edition in 2003 as a free, bare-bones image cataloging and editing package. Adobe discontinued the line, though, and support for it ended June 30.

So what's the alternative? In a customer note, Adobe puts its online service front and center.

"As part of our commitment to providing customers with a free photo-editing solution, we have created, an exciting new online service that lets you upload, organize, edit, store (up to 2GB free), and share your photos," the note said. Afterward is a list of steps for exporting photos from the software to the Web site.

The move reflects the growing importance of Web-based applications even for software powerhouses such as Adobe. Web applications, even when using relatively sophisticated technology such as Adobe's Flash, are typically primitive compared to what can run on a computer, but they offer advantages in sharing, maintenance, and remote access from multiple computers and mobile devices. And of course the Web is gradually growing more sophisticated as a foundation for applications.

It should be noted that Adobe's note also encourages customers to "consider an upgrade to Adobe Photoshop Elements 7," the consumer-oriented software that right now costs about $37 including a $20 rebate on Amazon. Adobe also sells the combination of Photoshop Elements 7 and a one-year Plus membership for $90. The Plus membership offers subscribers up to 20GB of storage, tutorials, album templates, and "creativity-inspiring ideas."

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