With RAW photography on mobile now a reality, Adobe Lightroom for Android quickly exposes a major shortcoming of too many apps.
Adobe's done a lot of good things lately. Its Creative Cloud service makes the entire suite of Adobe applications more affordable (or at least the monthly cost is easier to swallow). Photoshop is as important as ever. Adobe Document Cloud finally brings that end of the business into the 21st century. And Lightroom is now growing on iOS and Android — recently adding DNG support on our fair platform.
Signing in to Lightroom, however, remains a less-secure throwback.
Single sign on — using one account to sign into another — isn't new, and it's only growing more important.
I use Lightroom almost every day at work. I use it whenever I end up with a bunch of pictures of friends and family that need to be processed. And now that we've got RAW imagery on a couple of Android smartphones — the HTC One M9 and the upcoming LG G4 (and it's rumored to hit the Galaxy S6 in an update) — it's already one of the quickest and easiest ways to not just get your DNGs off your phone, but also to start editing. Or to do some quick-and-easy acute changes.
So I installed Lightroom on the G4. And almost immediately uninstalled it. You lose a huge part of the functionality of Lightroom on mobile if you're not signed in. Syncing images between the phone and the desktop is paramount. Otherwise why am I bothering? And the very last thing I want to do is dig out my ridiculously long, non-English, special-charactered Adobe password. (You are using a secure password for things, right?)
Android, of course, has a better way. Apps can use your Google account that you're probably already signed into. Or Facebook. Or Twitter. There are better ways. This isn't a new thing in the slightest. But it's also not going to become less important. Adobe's got a big deal on its hands here with and Lightroom and some of the best-selling phones in the world now sporting RAW support.
Adobe hardly is alone here. Nest is another one that comes to mind (especially given its corporate owners). And Pocket Casts. And, yes, we still need to do a better job of implementing SSO here, specially in our apps. Having a great service is just part of the total package.
Now we've all got to make our services easier to use out of the box.