REVIEW: Adobe’s Touch Apps for Android

Two old apps: Ideas and Kuler

Adobe Ideas and Adobe Kuler are the two Adobe Touch Apps that have already been available to users. Ideas initially arrived on the iOS a couple years ago and is also available on the Android Market. Kuler has existed for five years now, first as a web application and Mac OS X dashboard widget, and now as an Android app. The two Android apps are not much different than their previous incarnation, so I won’t go into great detail here but explain how they work within the larger Adobe Touch Apps ecosystem.

Kuler

Kuler’s real strength on the Android tablet is its ability to push color themes to the Creative Cloud, which is not integrated into any other Kuler product. The theme is sent to the Creative Cloud as an ASE file that can be used by some Creative Suite apps. You can still sent themes to the Adobe Kuler website too. Other than that, Kuler on the Android is the same color-picking app we’ve seen elsewhere. I personally don’t use it because I like to select colors without being pushed into a specific color rule (complementary, triad, compound, etc.). However, it could be more useful in mobile situations—for example, if you’re in a client meeting building a mood board in Collage or showing a project in Debut.

Ideas

I have worked with Ideas on the iPad for a year now but I have always found it to be underpowered—it’s basically a vector drawing brush that can import an image as the background. As an Adobe Touch App, Ideas is not really any different but you can really notice its lack of features compared to Photoshop Touch and Collage—both of which can duplicate all of Ideas’ features. Ideas’ only real application is in marking up photographs and images, which actually is pretty useful for high-end photographers who like to take digital notes for retouching photos later. Other professionals who want to mark up images outside of the studio or office can use Ideas for this. However, there are much more robust tools for this, both outside and inside the Adobe Touch Apps portfolio.

Pricing and System Requirements

Each app is available on the Android Market for $9.99 each, and have been released everywhere except in France and China. Each app is a standalone purchase so you can buy only the apps you need. The apps are currently available only on the Android platform, but they are expected to be released for iOS devices in the first quarter of 2012.

I’m disappointed that the Adobe Touch Apps are available only for Android devices running Android 3.1 and with a screen resolution of 1280×800 or higher. The Android 3 (“Honeycomb”) operating system is for tablets only, and that and the screen resolution requirement excludes all Android mobile phones from using these apps. I’m quite disappointed by this because at least a few of the apps (particularly Debut, Ideas and Kuler) would perform very well even on smaller devices. Maybe Adobe will bring these apps over to Android phones in the future.

Conclusion

What makes the Adobe Touch Apps—and many other apps on iOS and Android—appealing is the price point. At only ten dollars, all the Adobe Touch Apps are bargains. The mobile app phenomenon has actually made many users rethink the value of professional desktop software like the Creative Suite, which can be hundreds or thousands of dollars. However, the Adobe Touch Apps by themselves are a powerful but somewhat uneven lineup of apps geared toward creative users of all kinds. Professionals will get the most out of them because projects can be refined in the Creative Suite, but everyone will enjoy using them.

Photoshop Touch and Proto are, in my mind, far and away the best of the bunch. I also like Collage but I think Adobe could put more features into it and really make it fun to use. Kuler is robust but doesn’t have a lot of new features beyond what it’s had before. Debut and Ideas serve specialized purposes and don’t bring many features to the user, which is disappointing. Despite this, I’m really glad to see Adobe stake a claim in the tablet market and show some real thought and planning behind their efforts. I think a more focused, robust effort across fewer apps will serve users even better, but Adobe has presented us with a polished set of products.

Adobe Touch Apps
Adobe Systems
Each app US $9.99

Adobe Collage
Rating: 8/10
Buy at Android Market

Adobe Debut
Rating: 6/10
Buy at Android Market

Adobe Ideas
Rating: 7/10
Buy at Android Market

Adobe Kuler
Rating: 8/10
Buy at Android Market

Adobe Proto
Rating: 9/10
Buy at Android Market

Adobe Photoshop Touch
Rating: 10/10
Buy at Android Market