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Weblicator delayed again

The software engineers on Lotus Development's Weblicator browser accessory hope three times is a charm.

The software engineers on Lotus Development's Weblicator team hope three times is a charm.

The release of the software has been delayed yet again, forcing Lotus to set an "official" release date for the third time.

The browser accessory that offers some of the most popular features of Lotus's flagship Notes groupware was expected to ship in the first quarter at the consumer-friendly price of $29. But revamping the Weblicator's user interface has been more difficult than company officials had anticipated. The commercial rollout has since been postponed twice.

Now, Lotus officials maintain that the Weblicator will ship at the end of May. Interested surfers can download the latest beta version from the company's Web site.

Once it comes to market, the software will offer Notes replication, offline browsing, and search capabilities. Lotus hopes to win some market share by making the Weblicator's basic features as easy to use as a Web browser while offering more advanced users with options for customizing how the information they download is sorted and replicated, said Steve Cappo, Weblicator product manager.

He said developers have pared down the software's Notes-like user interface, axing the Notes file-folder appearance in favor of a more streamlined navigation panel that runs down the left side of the screen.

"We certainly know how important screen real estate is to browser users," Cappo said.