Tidbits from Adobe's Engage event

We take a look back at some of the interesting bits from Adobe's big event for AIR and other Web products.

Now that Adobe's Engage event has run its course for yet another year, it's a good time to pull in the types of items that slipped through the cracks of our coverage.

      We lost Wi-Fi for an hour or so during the conference, which was actually a blessing in disguise. I got to try out all the new AIR apps I had downloaded and got to see which ones managed to perform while away from their umbilical tether to the Internet. My pick for best performer? A two-way tie between BuzzWord and Shifd, the latter of which has a wonderfully scary error message (pictured below) but managed to sync up perfectly when I had connectivity back. This is what makes AIR downright useful.

      While the platform is at 1.0, some apps might not be there yet.

    • Yahoo didn't show off anything new. I can't really blame them, since the company has released a surprising amount of products and services in the past month. The biggest additions today were two widgets. One, called News Minibar, combines weather, finance, news headlines, photos, and search, while the other can be seen on Yahoo's politics site and is covering the U.S. elections. The company also demoed Music Blog Remixer, and the recently released Yahoo Live.

    • In the future, Yahoo's working on an AIR app for Yahoo Live, but it's not done yet. Features will include persistent connection and more camera control tweaks. Also, in case you were wondering how much time people are spending on Yahoo Live, Yahoo's not disclosing any numbers, but noted that there's a large group of DJs who use the service to play one to two hour sets.

    • The AIR version Adobe's Web based version of Photoshop isn't happening at the same time as the browser version. Users will have to wait to get an AIR version.
    • The elephant in the room for today was Microsoft's Silverlight. The only time it came up was in a Q&A session with Salesforce.com, whose CEO noted that nothing is in the works but that if the demand is there they'll build it. Adobe's CTO Kevin Lynch also noted that many people seem to be confusing AIR with Silverlight instead of Flash.
    • AIR will work with games too. In this case it's Neopets' upcoming RTS sim. (click to make larger) CNET Networks

    • Nick.com has a new AIR app that lets you drag and drop various bits and pieces from its site into a local AIR app. In this case the pieces are for a puzzle that users can splice together to access secret videos and Web content. This reminds me of those QR codes they have all over Japan that people are supposed to scan with their phones to access secret Web sites--it'll never work.
    • Neopets showed off its AIR app PetPetPet Habitats, which looks addictively fun (even though it's aimed at kids). Imagine if you will something between Sid Meyer's Civilization and Viva Pinata. The draw of the AIR app is you can play it while offline. The only reason you need to go visit the site is to get more supplies for your virtual world and sell items in the marketplace. The AIR app is launching in the last half of April or early May.

To read other posts about the Engage event, click here or check out the coverage on Charlie Cooper's blog.

About the author

Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.

 

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