Corel 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 Lightning 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's Word documents. It also has a "Navigator" to organize files.
The desktop application is 20MB 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 200MB of storage space to backup data such as emails, contacts, bookmarks and documents, in addition to a calendar and free email.
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 bought Upstartle a company that created the online word processor Writely.
Free offerings such as Writely and Wordperfect Lightning are seen as a challenge to Microsoft's Office programs, which dominate productivity applications and brings the company much of its revenue.
With Wordperfect Lightning, Corel is offering a free trial version of its Wordperfect Office X3 productivity suite, whose standard edition retails for US$269.99.