Adobe kills low-end Photoshop, urges users online

The image-editing powerhouse suggests users of its low-end software head online to Photoshop.com now that Photoshop Album Starter Edition is discontinued.

Photoshop.com offers online image editing and sharing.
Photoshop.com 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 Photoshop.com 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 Photoshop.com, 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 Photoshop.com 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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