Adobe has confirmed it will introduce a beta version of Adobe Photoshop CS3 today, Friday 15 December.

The company explains the beta release is intended to enable customers to more easily migrate to the latest hardware platforms, particularly Apple’s new Intel-based Macs. It will be available for download here.

The beta will be available as a Universal binary for the Mac, as well as for Windows XP and Windows Vista computers. The final version is scheduled to ship in spring 2007.

The software also includes a pre-release version of a major upgrade to Adobe Bridge, as well as a preview release of the new Adobe Device Central. Adobe Device Central is a tool for the design, preview, and test of mobile content, created specifically for smaller screens.

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

To use the Adobe Photoshop CS3 beta, customers require 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 download the software. Without a serial number, users can still download Adobe Photoshop CS3 beta, but the product will expire after two days.

Adobe has also released two new web tools as beta releases. Adobe CSS Advisor is a web-based community site to help identify and resolve browser compatibility issues. And Adobe Spry is framework for Ajax, a designer-focused solution to help in the development of rich, dynamic websites.

The Adobe Photoshop CS3 beta requires Mac OS X 10.4.8 and a 1GHz PowerPC G4 or G5 processor or Intel-based Mac. The Photoshop CS3 beta will expire soon after the launch of Photoshop CS3 in spring 2007. Details on final pricing, system requirements and availability have yet to be determined.