Adobe released on Tuesday the first Reader application to bake movies and animation into the Portable Document Format.
With Adobe Reader 9, users can play Flash movies, Shockwave animation, and other rich media content without needing to open a third-party player.
PDFs are reaching new levels of interactivity with this release. Past versions of the nearly ubiquitous and free application, by contrast, have enabled dynamic forms but served largely to open print-ready PDFs.
The update is supposed to load more quickly than version 8, addressing the gripes of many users who felt that Reader slowed down Web surfing.
Adobe has described this release as potentially leading to a one-size-fits-all media player. Acrobat 9, released in June at between $299 to $699, will embed video and animation within PDFs.
Acrobat 9 document-creation software can embed videos and animation as well as custom-developed applications alongside maps that preserve geospatial data, 3D models, images, word processing documents, spreadsheets, and presentations in common formats. The priciest, Pro Extended flavor of Acrobat can convert multiple video formats into Flash.
Security enhancements to the refresh of Acrobat and Reader include support for digital signatures and 256-bit AES encryption.
Adobe's launch of an online word processor and conferencing tool via Acrobat.com in June enables users to comment and collaborate simultaneously on documents, and to convert documents to PDFs.