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Adobe may be the last company users think of when it comes to hardware, but judging from a trio of products demonstrated during its annual MAX 2013 conference, the software maker may soon forge a new path.
In a move that might have made late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs proud, Adobe executives surprised attendees at its annual MAX conference on Monday by showing off three hardware products the company has brewing in its labs.
Demonstrated by Adobe Vice-President of Experience Design Michael Gough, "Project Mighty" is what the company calls a connected or "cloud pen" -- a pressure-sensitive drawing tool synced with the user's Creative Cloud account, which uses Bluetooth to connect to tablets like the iPad.
Made in conjunction with industrial design firm Ammunition, Gough describes Project Mighty as "a three-sided, twisted form that is inspired by the ergonomics of holding a pen." The device not only remembers how a Creative Cloud user draws, but also uses themes synced from the forthcoming Kuler for iPhone app to act as a "cloud clipboard."
But that's not all: Gough then introduced "Project Napoleon," which borrows its namesake ("a short ruler," quipped Gough) to create a digital ruler filled with a ton of potential for artists.
One of the most impressive features demonstrated is the ability to snap to "vanishing points," making it easier to draw in perspective while getting the same tactile feedback a real ruler would provide.
Adobe also showed off a third piece of hardware aimed at digital publishers: Project Context. While the first two hardware surprises are definitely aimed at consumers, Context is clearly intended for professionals who want to use touch-based screens to emulate the pasteboard experience used by newspapers, magazines and traditional print media.
While Adobe has yet to announce any firm plans for this trio of products -- which may or may not involve hardware partners to market them -- their inclusion at the MAX 2013 keynote is a good indication that Adobe is getting serious about hardware to complement their existing software products.
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