Adobe brings Photoshop to Chromebooks via new streaming feature

Adobe has developed a new version of Photoshop that runs on lower-end devices such as Google’s Chromebook.

Photoshop requires a significant amount of processing power, meaning that the hardware running it usually needs to be of a certain standard.

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Google’s browser-based Chromebook range, which utilises ARM-based processors and usually has less than 2GB of RAM, is largely a budget device optimised for speed and online use. It also lacks an operating system that supports Photoshop.

Adobe, however, has found a way around these various hurdles using a feature called Photoshop Streaming. In this instance, the application is run on Adobe’s servers and streamed to the user’s web browser via a Chrome Remote Desktop extension. As the majority of the processing is taking place through Adobe’s servers, the specs of the user’s laptop or PC are largely immaterial.

According to ArsTechnica, who have demoed the feature, the performance is comparable to having the software installed locally.

However, there are some limitations to streaming the program, with certain features remaining inaccessible. Firstly, there is no GPU support on a remote device, which means that many of the 3D features are disabled. Also, files can only currently be saved to Google Drive, although Adobe is looking into the possibility of using other cloud storage platforms. Users also have to be connected to the Internet at all times, which means it is not as mobile as the offline version.

Photoshop Streaming is currently only available via a closed beta in the US, but Adobe does hope to extend the service to its Creative Cloud package eventually.

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The US firm also predicts that the application will prove useful in schools and colleges, enabling them to use Photoshop even if they have low-end hardware.