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Nitro PDF Reader out to blow away Adobe

Kindle to stay focused on reading, no color version soon
New York (AFP) May 25, 2010 - Amazon's Kindle, which is facing competition from Apple's multi-purpose iPad, will remain a dedicated electronic book reader and a color model is "some way out," Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said Tuesday. "The Kindle is all about reading," Bezos said at Amazon's annual shareholders meeting in Seattle, which was streamed live on the Web. "The Kindle device will succeed by being the best dedicated e-reader in the world," he said, comparing it to a camera on a phone and a dedicated camera. "I have a camera on my smartphone and I like it because it's always with me, it's extremely useful," he said. "But I have two other cameras, a small compact camera that I take hiking and a heavy SLR camera." "If activities are important, then they end up getting dedicated devices because they're always going to do the job better," Bezos said. "Kindle will compete with LCD devices like the iPad primarily by being a very focused product," he said. "Serious readers, they're going to want a purpose-built device because that's an important activity for them."

The touchscreen iPad, which Apple began selling last month, is an e-reader but also allows users to watch video, listen to music, play games or surf the Web. The iPad has a color LCD display compared with the black-and-white Kindle, which uses electronic ink technology. Bezos said the LCD screen "comes with significant drawbacks for long-form reading." "Among them is increased eye strain because you're reading with someone shining a backlight in your eyes," he said. "Beach-side reading, vacation reading becomes very complicated if not impossible." The Amazon chief said a color display for the Kindle is "still some way out." "There are several things in the laboratory, but they're not quite ready for primetime production," he said. Bezos also said Amazon was "investing very heavily in China." "I do not underestimate how much potential there is there," he said.
by Staff Writers
San Francisco (AFP) May 25, 2010
Nitro PDF Software on Tuesday released a free reader built to break rival Adobe System's grip on the world's top digital document format.

Nitro not only lets people read paperwork scanned in Portable Document Format (PDF) but lets it be annotated, filled-in, or otherwise altered and then saved as files.

Adobe's widely used free reader lets people see and print digitized documents but not tinker with them, a restriction that can foil efforts such as filling in emailed or online PDF forms.

Adobe sells premium versions of PDF software that allow for document creation.

"Adobe hasn't adapted the product to how people have evolved in working with PDF files," said Lonn Lorenz, who worked at Adobe for a decade before becoming Nitro chief product officer in 2009.

"The fact that Adobe hasn't done it just doesn't make sense. We hear from people that they have no love for Adobe Reader; we want people to have a lot of love for Nitro Reader."

Nitro PDF Reader was available for download online at

Nitro touted its reader as more secure than Adobe software at a time when booby-trapping PDF files have been branded a prime method of attack by hackers.

Symantec recently reported that the number of PDF files tainted with malicious code skyrocketed in 2009 to represent 49 percent of Web-based attacks, topping the category.

"One of the big things about Adobe Reader is how vulnerable it is," Lorenz said.

Security built into Nitro includes letting users block access to selected websites, lock files with passwords, and turn off Java Script technology exploited by hackers to execute attacks.

Nitro Reader also lets people scan signatures into computers and add them to PDF documents.

"The whole point is to enable users to get the work done and move on," Lorenz said. "This stuff is a no-brainer but no one else has done it."

Nitro sells professional PDF software that competes with Adobe, but the reader released on Tuesday is the first free offering to let people do more than simply read and print such files.

"We saw a big hole in the market," said Nitro senior vice president of sales and marketing Gina O'Reilly. "There was nobody else offering free, powerful, no-strings-attached tools for PDF functionality."

Nitro is betting that if it wins fans for its free Reader, a percentage will upgrade to a professional version that the 10-year-old San Francisco firm sells for 99 dollars.

"No one has offered functionality to work with PDF without a catch; until now," O'Reilly said. "Adobe Reader is one of those things people just have to put up with. That is something we want to turn on its head."

The assault on Adobe Reader comes as the California firm's Flash video software has been shunned by iPhone, iPad, and iPod maker Apple.

A public feud between the companies has included Apple chief executive Steve Jobs listing what he sees as Flash flaws.

"It does give me a bit of a smile," Lorenz said of taking on Adobe on the PDF front. "But we just wanted a PDF reader that people want to use, it just works. The fact that Adobe hasn't done it just doesn't make sense to users."

Nitro Reader for English debuts worldwide Tuesday, with versions tailored for other languages coming "hot on its heels," according to the firm.

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Google bringing Web to TV set
San Francisco (AFP) May 20, 2010
Internet giant Google is out to expand its kingdom to the living room with an ambitious new service that lets people mesh television viewing with surfing the Web. "Google TV," developed in partnership with technology titans Sony, Intel and Logitech, fuses the freedom of the Internet with television programming. Google executives vowed their TV platform will succeed where offerings such a ... read more

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