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Friday, December 15, 2006, 03:25 pm PT (06:25 pm ET)

Adobe Photoshop CS3 beta now available for download

Per expectations, Adobe Systems on friday formally introduced a beta version of Adobe Photoshop CS3 software, the next release of its industry standard digital imaging software.

The San Jose, Calif.-based software developer said it's making the Photoshop CS3 beta widely available in order to enable customers to more easily transition to the latest hardware platforms, particularly Apple’s new Intel-based systems.

The beta is available as a Universal Binary for the Macintosh platform, as well as for Microsoft Windows XP and Windows Vista computers. Meanwhile, the final shipping version remains on track for the Spring 2007, the company said.

"This is an exciting time for the Mac, and Adobe wanted to ease the move to new Intel-based systems with a preview release of Photoshop CS3," said John Loiacono, senior vice president of Creative Solutions Business Unit at Adobe. "We didn't want to leave Windows customers out of the party, so the beta is available to everyone in the creative industry's most passionate user community — no matter what their platform choice."

Some notable features of the new release include a new user interface, camera RAW enhancements, a Quick Select tool, and a much improved print dialog and print preview function. The folks over at Adobe have also built in Auto Blend and Auto Align tools, improved black-and-white conversion control, and refined the software's cloning and healing tools.

In addition to the outfit of new features, Photoshop CS3 beta also includes a pre-release version of a major upgrade to Adobe Bridge, as well as a preview release of the all-new Adobe Device Central. The new Device Central will allow Photoshop users to design, preview, and test mobile content, created specifically for smaller screens. The fully integrated tool aims to simplify and accelerate the creation of mobile content through a preview environment and built-in device profiles.

To utilize Adobe Photoshop CS3 beta, customers are require to have a serial number from either Adobe Photoshop CS2, Adobe Creative Suite 2, Adobe Creative Suite Production Studio, Adobe Design Bundle, Adobe Web Bundle or Adobe Video Bundle.

Adobe Photoshop CS3 beta is available in English only. Customers who have a valid serial number for all other language versions of qualifying Adobe products can still download the software. Even without a serial number, Adobe will still allow users to download a version of Photoshop CS3 beta that will expire after two days. However, customers must register online (free) with Adobe or have an existing Adobe.com membership account to access the software.

"We still have some surprises in store, but this beta gives customers an early chance to see the power of another great Photoshop release, optimized and tuned to run natively on the latest hardware and operating systems," Loiacono said.

Recommended system requirements for Adobe Photoshop CS3 beta are Mac OSX 10.4.8 or 10.5 and a 1 GHz PowerPC G4 or G5 processor, or an Intel based Macintosh. For Windows: Intel Xeon, Xeon Dual, Centrino or Pentium 4 processor, Microsoft Windows XP with Service Pack 2 or higher, Microsoft Windows Vista. Both platforms require 512 MB RAM and a 1024x769 resolution screen.

The Photoshop CS3 beta will expire soon after the launch of Photoshop CS3 in Spring 2007, Adobe said.

Details on final pricing, system requirements and availability have yet to be determined.