Corel Corp. released a free public beta of WordPerfect Lightning on Tuesday, a word processor that blends a desktop-based application with online collaboration and storage features.
WordPerfect Lightening has a "Notes" tool to save text and images from the Internet, in addition to a "Viewer" that can handle the portable document format (.pdf), WordPerfect and Microsoft Corp.'s Word documents. It also has a "Navigator" to organize files.
The desktop application is 20 M bytes and is compatible with Microsoft's new Vista OS and XP, Corel said.
If users are not at computer running the WordPerfect Lightning desktop application, they can use Lightning's online site to access files stored by Corel.
Users get 200 M-bytes of storage space to back up data such as e-mails, contacts, bookmarks and documents, in addition to a calendar and free e-mail.
WordPerfect Lightning is one of a wave of applications integrating desktop applications with online features for greater access and easier collaboration. In March 2006, Google Inc. bought Upstartle LLC, a company that created the online word processor Writely.
Free offerings such as Writely and WordPerfect Lightening are seen as a challenge to Microsoft's Office programs, which dominate productivity applications and brings the company much of its revenue.
With WordPerfect Lightening, Corel is offering a free trial version of its WordPerfect Office X3 productivity suite, whose standard edition retails for US$269.99.