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Adobe announces Creative Suite 5.5 with optional subscription-based pricing

Adobe has announced a mid-cycle update to its Creative Suite, dubbed Adobe CS 5.5. As CNET notes, Adobe CS 5.5 doesn't provide significant updates for Photoshop, Illustrator or Fireworks, but what has been updated in Adobe's Creative Suite seems particularly focused on smartphone platforms. Adobe says the CS update is focused on "enabling designers and developers to target popular and emerging smartphone and tablet platforms," and provides "substantive advances to HTML5, Flash authoring, digital publishing and video tools as well as new capabilities that kick-start the integration of tablets into creative workflows."

According to Adobe, the company plans to change up its development cycle for Creative Suite, offering "milestone" upgrades every 24 months and (presumably yearly) mid-cycle releases like CS 5.5 providing relatively smaller advances of the feature set.

Perhaps more significantly, Adobe has also introduced subscription-based pricing for its Creative Suite, with monthly pricing schemes including Photoshop for US$35 per month, Adobe Design Premium CS 5.5 for $95 per month, and Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 Master Collection for $129 per month. Naturally, you can also pay for the suite all in one go, but it'll cost you anywhere from $1299 up to $2599 for the Master Collection.

Adobe devotes a rather significant portion of its CS 5.5 press release to discussing the state of Flash on mobile devices, claiming that "more than 200 million" tablets and smartphones will run Flash Player and/or Flash-based applications by the end of this year. CNET characterizes Adobe's mobile development tools as "inching closer to build once, output many." We'll just have to wait and see how both of those claims play out.

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