Nov 16 AT 5:51 PM Eric Weiss 27 Comments

Adobe Mobile: Why did they bother?

Photoshop is a very powerful graphic editing tool. So powerful and universally used in fact that we now have the verb “photoshopped”. This app, though, is not Photoshop as many in the press have called it. It is Mobile and that distinction is important. Photoshop is amazing. is horrible. And now with Adobe Mobile you can take that horridness with you! is Adobe’s answer to Flickr and Picasa. It’s a place to upload, organize and share your photos. It also offers some basic editing of photos but nothing like what Photoshop offers.

As an image editor drives me nuts. For something that is supposed to be aimed at the average user it is not intuitive, doesn’t offer a lot in terms of editing (which is imprecise at best) and with it being online, is slow.

Unfortunately, the mobile app is all that and less.

The editing tools are limited to orientation (crop, straighten, rotate and flip), some color adjustments (exposure, saturation, tint, and convert to black & white), and a soft focus effect. I would have liked some simple effects that people would want and need like a red-eye remover or being able to add text, captions or metadata to the photos.

The ability to upload photos to is great for those with limited space on their phone. A big oversight though is not being able to download your online photos to your device for offline viewing, especially when you consider that there is an option to set online photos as your wallpaper.

And at this point you are probably wondering “Okay, what else is there.” Well, that’s it. Oh wait, it runs in the background constantly. Does that count as a feature?

If you use (Please let me know why you are using it) this is the best (only?) app to send your camera-phone pictures to your account. If you aren’t a user there is nothing here to entice you to start (and probably a few more reasons to avoid it).

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  • Vineares

    This review is amazing. Thank you.

  • Michael

    I hate to disagree with you, but I am liking the photoshop app more and more as I play around with it. While it doesn’t have the full features, it seems to have just enough to improve camera phone pictures.

  • Pablo

    I think the mobile version is quite good, I mean, I dont really need a full blown photoshop in my pocket, the controls and power just isnt there.

    However, I *just* uninstalled because of that last point you mention. It stays in the background. forever. Even if you kill it.
    There is absolutely *no* reason or excuse for doing so.

    Thats clearly a bug, and might affect your phone’s performance (it will AT LEAST decrease available RAM by a few MBs)

    So, I have uninstalled it until it gets fixed. Its not *that* indespensable to me anyways. Its just a nice compliment to PicSay.

  • Titty! = shouldn’t exist .

  • Pablo

    I actually managed to file a bugreport for this application through adobe’s website.

    Having written an android app which makes use of background services, I think filing the bug through their is probably more complicated and time consuming than fixing that code!

  • Chuck

    Except that it runs in the background all the time, it’s a great gallery replacement. Once you realize that’s central and image editing is peripheral, you can see it as fairly successful.

    (Except that it runs in the background all the time.)

    My detailed review of it will be posted over at very soon…


  • WootRoot

    Im glad im not the only one who feels that way about this app…

  • schwiz

    its a nice start, but they need to do a lot of work before its even remotely useful.

  • GW

    I agree — I was underwhelmed by the Photoshop app. Why bother? I use PicSay Pro and find it fantastic. I use that app all the time. With something as feature rich as PicSay on my G1, Photoshop’s not worth keeping installed – not even for free.

  • GW

    The constant background running is another thing that made me uninstall it straightaway. Even if I killed it with a taskiller, it kept rising from the dead and sucking resources.

  • ari-free

    Might want to check out Foxy

  • nick

    Why such a negative review?
    This is borderline trolling.

    Here, you’re trying to encourage android adoption overall, and you put out crap like this. I’m a long time, dedicated follower of the site, but seriously. why? mobile isnt photoshop mobile. it’s a useful application for users of, and i’m really taken aback by the way you covered it.

    my 2c,


    • David

      Um…Nick…do you understand the purpose of a “review”? I don’t read these sites to have them shower me in flowers and puppies…I want to know the real story on the applications. If an app isn’t worth my time, I greatly appreciate being told so before wasting my time!!

      • Brian Douglas Hayes

        That’s why the rest of us are here, too. And that’s also why we want honest, unbiased, well-written reviews.

        There’s plenty of lousy apps out there and they all deserve some criticism. But if an app sucks, a proper review should cite specific examples of WHY the app sucks. A better review mentions examples where similar apps have done it correctly, and/or offers suggestions to the developer/publisher.

        You’re not getting “the real story” without checks and balances on the authors and their stories.

        You don’t happen to watch Fox News, do you?

  • Brian Douglas Hayes

    I’m usually entertained and impressed by the quality of writing at Android and Me, but this review is rather disappointing. You’ve got some valid critique on the app–specifically, the bit about the app running in the background. But that’s about it, and it’s hidden by all the other irrelevant noise about your beef with This reads like a biased, unfair review, and is a major turn-off to somebody that’s in the basic stages of developing a few apps (myself), not to mention the thousands of other dedicated Android developers.

    Most importantly, I don’t understand your claims about limited functionality. It does exactly what it claims to do. Crop, contrast/brightness, saturation… those were the basics I was expecting based on the description. Granted, I too would have liked to see a captioning/text bubble feature. Additionally, a few more “filters” would have been nice. Vignette, distortion, tilt-shift effect… those would be nice. But keep in mind this is a new release, there’s always room for more features and improvements.

    I do question the usefulness of red-eye removal, however. I’m only aware of one Android phone that even has a flash (the Motorola Droid). Yeah, that feature will become more common, but I’m just trying to imagine the tediousness of zooming in and selecting the red-eye area to fix. Ever tried that on one of those full-screen Kodak kiosks? I’m not too sure doing tiny edits like that on a ~3″ screen is going to go much better.

    Maybe it’s just me, but I thought it was pretty obvious that Mobile was created give users a bit of FUN out of using our camera phones. A few color/filter controls and an easy way to share our pictures. And it does that. It’s basic, but that’s all it claims to be. As you noted, it’s Mobile, not Photoshop CS4 Mobile.

    Now, all that said, I uninstalled the app. As mentioned, it seems to have a bug with running in the background making my memory-crunched G1 unresponsive. Fix that issue and I’ll give it another try.

    As an alternative, I’ve been having much more fun with another app called FxCamera. It applies the pre-selected effects immediately after you take the photo, which leaves things a bit more random and surprising. It’s the same kind of fun you have when shooting with a Polaroid or Holga or another “toy” camera. While it doesn’t have its own sharing service, it’s a simple two-click job to send photos to Flickr (via Gmail) or Twitter (via Twidroid).

    Also, for the record, it’s Picasa, not Picassa.

    • David

      Lol…four long paragraphs about how wrong the reviewer was to say bad things about this app, three sentences about why you uninstalled it, and one additional paragraph describing an app that you prefer. Thanks, Brian Douglas!

  • Nick Haskins

    I completely agree with you. I’m a professional photographer and the app is a serious joke. NO WB correction at the least? pff!

    • Jack Mehoff

      You’re a professional photographer and you take your pictures with a camera phone and then process them with a free app? Wow, where can I sign up for your services?

  • nish

    It was OK, but I wasn’t all that impressed with this app.

  • nick

    I agree with Brian above, and I just wanted to say again:
    this is not the type of writing that I brings me to AndroidandMe. This piece is crap, and unfair to and mobile.

  • cym0n

    I really enjoyed the app for what little I used it for but I got rid of it because it was always running in the background. Silly why they would think they would need to have a photo editing app running in the background always

  • Lallo

    Horrible review!

  • Pablo

    I have to agree with all those comments, this article is actually a biased rant and a piece of crap. The editor did not probably realize what he was downloading. Its like complaining about email because its not exactly like chat. (well, that was not exactly the best comparison, but I hope you get my point)

    As I said, I do however agree on the background thing. App developers should be somehow punished for using that background service feature in such an irresponsible way.

  • ExtremeT

    A review is going to be biased because it’s the opinion of one person’s view on a particular item, in this case an app. Reviews are almost always biased and it can’t be helped. If the reviewer doesn’t like the app, it’s going to be a negative review. People may not agree with it but that’s the nature of a review. Same thing with movie critics and any other people who do reviews. It’s certainly not a reflection of the quality of the site either.

    The app itself isn’t bad, it isn’t great either. I personally really don’t see the advantage about having it installed on my phone but then again I need a lot more tools. For the average person who just wants to tweak a photo or what not it’s perfectly fine and does exactly what it says although you should be able to download your galleries. That’s a big feature that should have been in there and I’m slightly surprised Adobe didn’t put that in.

  • spence

    Picsay Pro is SO much better!!!!

  • Brady Kroupa

    Hi, my name is Brady Kroupa and I’m the Engineering Lead on Mobile for Android.
    We’re very excited about Android and take your feedback seriously. I’ve posted a blog entry responding to the most frequent feedback about our app at

    A common concern about our app is that it never quits. We’ll be changing this behavior soon so it’s not running all the time. I encourage you to read the blog post for more information why this occurs.

    Thanks again for trying our app and providing us with great feedback. Look for an update soon which can be downloaded internationally.


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