Adobe developed and licenses the Portable Document Format, which is designed to speed the delivery and transfer of documents online. Integrating this technology into the Palm software would theoretically allow a Palm user to read any document stored in the PDF format.
Although electronic book readers have not been big sellers, handheld computing companies have been working feverishly to include the technology to read e-books. Microsoft unveiled improved fonts and e-book technology for its Pocket PCs at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last month, while Palm licensee Handspring has demonstrated an e-book add-on cartridge for its Visor device.
The trend indicates the growing interest in expanding the features and functionality of handheld devices, as industry attention shifts from developing services and applications for the home computer to creating inexpensive, scaled down Internet-centric devices capable of performing a few limited functions.
Palm, which is set to go public sometime this month amid its separation from parent company 3Com, has stacked up partnerships, alliances and licensees at a near breakneck pace in the last few months. In addition to high profile licensees like Handspring, Sony, and Nokia, the company has announced alliances with Motorola and America Online.
Adobe's PDF format, which is widely used to recreate text-based documents online, will bring e-book capability to the Palm, according to a statement from Palm Computing vice president Mark Bercow. The joint announcement was made earlier this week at the Seybold Publishing Conference in Boston, Mass.
"This effort will enable customers to even more fully realize the benefits of e-reading and to access the documents they need, at any time and anywhere," he said in a statement.
The companies did not disclose when the PDF format would be integrated into the Palm software.