Full-blown Photoshop on a Chromebook? Adobe makes it happen
Adobe has demonstrated a new version of Photoshop that works on devices as rudimentary as a Google Chromebook.
Photoshop is one of the most demanding applications available, which is why it forms part of the PC Pro Real World Benchmarks suite for testing new PCs. Yet, Adobe has demonstrated that it’s possible to run full-blown Photoshop on hardware as limited as Google’s browser-based Chromebooks, which normally use low-powered ARM-based processors and no more than 2GB of RAM. Not to mention the fact that Chromebooks don’t have an operating system that supports Photoshop in the first place.
Instead, Photoshop Streaming is a hosted application that is run on Adobe’s servers and streamed to the browser using an adaptation of the Remote Desktop extension for Chrome. All of the processing grunt is done at Adobe’s end, making the spec of the “receiving” Chromebook largely irrelevant. Photoshop Streaming will thus work on almost any Chromebook or Windows/Mac computer running the Chrome browser.
Performance is comparable to running Photoshop locally on a suitably specced PC, according to reports from Ars Technica and other US publications who were invited to an Adobe demo. However, there are some limitations. There’s no GPU support on the remote computer, so many of the 3D functions are off limits. Files can currently only be saved to Google Drive, although Adobe says it’s adding support for other cloud storage services, presumably including its own. And, of course, there’s no offline support if the internet connection fails.
Adobe is currently offering Photoshop Streaming as a closed beta in the US, although eventually aims to make it part of its Creative Cloud package, potentially allowing subscribers to edit photos/images from any internet-connected computer. It’s a similar concept (if a different technology) to Microsoft’s Office on Demand, which allowed Office 365 subscribers to download and run any of the Office apps from any PC. However, the little-used feature was discontinued earlier this month.
Adobe says education customers are the primary target for Photoshop Streaming, with schools not having to worry about upgrading PCs to cope with Photoshop or keeping client software updated.