Just one month following the release of Acrobat 8, Adobe has made good on its promise to ship an updated version of its free Acrobat 8 Reader software this month.

The company today released the new version of Reader 8 for all platforms. With an eye on collaboration, the software also incorporates a link to Web conferencing software the company plans to release next month.

Adobe Reader 8 is available for a free download from the company's website. The new version lets customers who have Adobe's Acrobat Professional software, used for making PDF (portable document format) files, to create forms that Reader 8 users can digitally sign.

Reader 8 also has a button that launches Adobe's Acrobat Connect conferencing software, formerly known as Macromedia Breeze.

Acrobat Connect, available now in a trial version for Mac and Windows systems, lets users create a Web address for a meeting room that's accessed through a browser running Flash. Users get use of several collaboration tools, including screen sharing, whiteboarding, chat and video conferencing.

The Adobe Connect service is not yet available in the UK however.

Adobe will offers two version of the Connect software. The Connect hosted service can be used for up to 15 participants for $39 per month, or $395 per year per personal meeting room.

Connect Professional, which starts at $15,000, supports up to 2,500 users at the same time plus interactive multimedia, integrated telephony and VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol). Meetings can be recorded for on-demand viewing.

UK pricing will be confirmed when Adobe ships the product in Europe.