Acrobat 9 was officially announced by Adobe today, as AppleInsider managed to reveal before anybody else last week. The new version of the famous PDF reader now comes with native support for Adobe Flash, so you can include Flash videos and applications in your PDFs, live collaboration with other users on the same document via Acrobat.com and unification of all sorts of content into one file. You can already sign up at Acrobat.com to be notified once Acrobat 9 is released and to try out the ConnectNow environment.
Very similar to Photoshop Express, ConnectNow is built completely in Flash and offers a clear interface from which you can create and share new documents thanks to Adobe Buzzword, invite participants to an online meeting, and share your webcam or desktop.
You can now blend all sorts of content in Adobe’s new Portfolios, called Packages in previous versions of Acrobat. Portfolios look likely to be a more central part of Acrobat 9, with Adobe encouraging users to blend content together, including video and 3D, and share their documents with other users. Acrobat comes with a number of layouts but you can also customize your own by choosing from a set of color schemes. As pointed out by AppleInsider, Adobe have finally integrated Optical Character Recognition (OCR) of scanned text, so you can make any one of your PDF files searchable. Almost all files, including paper documents and web pages, can now be converted to PDF and two PDFs can easily be compared, with varying text automatically highlighted for you.
Acrobat will come in three versions: Pro Extended, Pro and Standard, with the starting price, for the Standard version, being $299. If you’re ready to pay the price and see some use in the extended collaborative tools on hand, it’s probably worth making the jump. We’ll have a hands on review of Acrobat 9 for you as soon as it’s released.