Zimbra, one of the early Web 2.0 collaboration suites, is announcing offline support for its on demand collaboration suite (see Read/WriteWeb and Techcrunch) tomorrow. The Desktop Zimbra client (alpha code) will solve the problem of disconnected use, which plagues many online, on demand application users. The desktop version offers faster search, rich email rendering and synching with the Zimbra server. The Desktop Zimbra alpha download is available for Windows, Mac and Linux and is free for open source and Zimbra Network Edition users to try out. Pricing and availability haven't been set, according to the company.
Zoho is expected to offer offline access for some of its online applications later this year, and Firefox 3 will add support for offline access to applications. ThinkFree has announced a premium online edition that includes offline access and file synchronization. Also, Joyent has developed Slingshot, which allows Web applications written with Ruby on Rails to have offline capabilities.
In addition, platforms such as Adobe's Apollo and Dekoh (see Ryan Stewart's coverage of Apollo and Dekoh) offer dual mode use. Given Microsoft's statements about a hybrid approach, with online and offline products, the company should be ahead of the pack in delivering synchronization between the two modes--but first Ray Ozzie's team needs to deliver a Web Office.
See also: Mike Arrington interviews Zimbra CEO Satish Dharmaraj about Desktop Zimbra