Adobe has released a Mac OS-compatible public beta version of Acrobat Reader for Palm OS 2.0.

The application enables Palm handheld users to view colour and monochrome Adobe PDF (Portable Document Format) documents on their PDAs. It also lets users synchronize PDFs between handhelds and personal computers (Mac or Windows).

Acrobat Reader for Palm OS 2.0 works like this: launch the desktop application and drag-&-drop an Adobe PDF document onto it. The next time Palm synchronization is activated, the PDF is transferred to the viewing application on the handheld. A user can then read the document on their PDA.

Rick Bess, director of Acrobat Reader product management said: “The initial Acrobat Reader for Palm OS release received an enthusiastic welcome from corporations and consumers alike, with well over one million copies downloaded from the Adobe Web site”.

Document security The application supports password-protection – so confidential PDFs can be protected from prying eyes when they sit on a handheld device. Commenting on this, Gabriel Acosta-Lopez, senior director of platform development services for PalmSource, the software arm of Palm, said: “Document security is an issue of growing importance to business. By adding support for secured Adobe PDF files in the latest version of Acrobat Reader for Palm OS, Adobe is responding to the needs of our customers.

“Palm-powered Macintosh users will be excited that Adobe is now providing them access to an important application in Acrobat Reader,” he explained.

Tagged documents The solution works best with PDF files created using Acrobat 5.0, InDesign 2.0, and PageMaker 7.0. This is because these applications have the capability to tag PDF documents with information on page structure and organization. This makes for easier-to-read text re-flow on Palm OS-powered devices.

The company revealed that the final version of the product will be available in French, German, Italian and Spanish, as well as English. The public beta is available for download for many Windows operating systems, Mac OS 9.x, OS X 10.1, and Palm devices running Palm OS 3.5 or higher.

The final version is expected to ship in June 2002.