Lightroom at Luminous LandscapeLuminous Landscape reports on the beta of Adobe's Lightroom. Apparently it's been in the works for 18 months and looks like it has both photo managment and raw processing features, so it's not just Adobe's Aperture-killer, it's also going to threaten the rest of the digital asset management tools. The beta's only available on the Mac for now but a PC version will be coming soon:

By releasing Lightroom now Adobe likely hopes to further side-swipe Aperture's early sales momentum, though Apple bears considerable responsibility for Aperture's generally negative early reception by reviewers and many users. With Lightroom out in the wild as a free beta for much of 2006, and with availability for Windows computers coming in the relatively near future, Adobe clearly hopes that huge numbers of photographers will explore and then start using Lightroom. Then, when it launches as a commercial product, a very large installed base of pre-sold buyers will exist. It also means that Lightroom (hopefully) will contain features and functions that are a result of feedback from these early adopters, and thus will engender a loyal user base. A pretty smart strategy, in my view.

And as for Aperture, if history is any teacher we can expect to see Apple turn its newest baby into a powerhouse, especially now that it has Adobe breathing down its neck with such a promising alternative. In the end the winner will be all of us ? photographers who will have choices, and a rich new set of tools with which to pursue our art and our craft.

Also read:

Probably not an original tactic but it's a nice variation on the old vapourware trick - introduce a public beta and kill off competition in its infancy. I must say I'm not surprised - such a cataloguing program was what I'd hoped for when Adobe released Photoshop CS2 and its increasingly-halfbaked Bridge.