Lotus is developing a suite of Java business applets and end user productivity tools that will run on NCs, PCs and Apple Macs.
The applets were demonstrated at the Lotusphere Europe conference this week and will be available to test on 1 March from Lotus? Web site. They will go into beta in the second quarter with general availability scheduled in the summer.
Lotus? Kona project is similar to Corel?s attempt to re-engineer its Office applications using Java. Corel?s Java applets are expected to be available in March.
Kona comprises an NC desktop environment and a set of applications. The desktop is a graphical interface for NCs from which applications can be accessed or used to browse the Web. It provides file management, electronic mail, enterprise data access and personal information management facilities. The desktop software is built from a range of individual components, allowing any Java application to plug into it.
The applets are built as Java Beans components, so they can run in Microsoft ActiveX containers and on any Java Virtual Machines. The range will include a spreadsheet, word processor, charting and project scheduling packages, presentation graphics, calendaring and email. They can be used individually or snapped together. Applets can share information using Lotus? Infobus technology, while applets can be stored in Notes or as files on a server.
Larry Roshfeld, general manager of Lotus' business applications division, said: ?Kona is a set of applications built without the excess facilities which people do not need.? Lotus would not comment on how Kona will be marketed, whether as shrinkwrapped products or by server-based licences or site licenses. One of the sales channels will be via its telco partners, which will host the applets on behalf of customers. Customers will then 'rent' usage of the applets as they require them (see separate story).
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