Alexander Turcic over at MobileRead shares some great news: Adobe Digital Editions is now in public beta! From the detailed overview Alex gives, the Adobe offering has a similar look and feel to the Times Reader (also in beta), but since the Times Reader only reads…uh…the Times….the Adobe software looks like a worthy competitor!
Of course, I looked for any small screen benefits and sure enough, there’s a huge one: "While you can read normal PDF documents with Digital Editions, what’s really new and interesting to us is its ability to work with "liquid" reflowable textual content. This type of content will make a lot more sense on a small screen, where text size and presentation (including vector-based graphics) is automatically adjusted to the limited screen size. In addition, Adobe uses Extensible Style Language-Formatting Objects (XSL-FO) as a tool to adapt the major page layout depending on a combination of font size and screen size. For instance, if you have enough screen and smaller font size, you get three columns; but if you increase the font size, you’ll get only two columns; and if you make the screen size smaller; the reader will automatically reduce to one column."
I downloaded the beta, but since Amazon appears to have "lost" my previously purchased digital editions (more on that later…grrr!), I haven’t gotten my peepers on any content yet. If you’ve got the time and the content, you’ll want to check out the product page here for the lightweight download. If you’d rather not try the beta: no worries because there are plenty of screen-shots over at MobileRead.