Netscape Debuts Communicator 4.5 Beta

Netscape Communications today
released the first public beta of its Communicator 4.5 browser client suite, probably the last release to be developed in house by Netscape, with later versions slated to be unveiled by this fall.

Users can download either
the standalone version, containing the Navigator Web browser, or the full
version, which comes with the Navigator browser, Messenger news reader,
Composer Web page editor, AOL Instant Messenger, Netscape Calendar
scheduler, Palm Pilot Synchronization (Windows only), and multimedia plug-ins.

Enhancements in this release of Communicator include Smart Browsing, “high
performance” Internet e-mail, and Roaming Access support for mobile users.

Smart Browsing enables users to locate information on the Internet quickly
and easily by integrating Netscape Navigator 4.5 with the services that are
available on the Netscape Netcenter portal site.

Netscape’s Messenger has been enhanced for this release with a three-pane
user interface, fast Pinpoint Addressing, import utilities for importing
address books from other e-mail clients, support for Internet Message
Access Protocol (IMAP) and Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP)
standards, and offline synchronization that allows users to read and
respond to email while they are offline.

Roaming Access, a new Netcenter service that’s also tightly integrated with
Communicator 4.5, provides users with the ability to access their own
personal information, such as address books, bookmarks, and e-mail from any
location on the Internet using their Web browser.

Netscape is attempting to provide members of Netcenter with a personal
experience regardless of their physical location. Communicator 4.5 also
includes new PalmPilot synchronization features which enable users to
access Communicator information while they are on the road.

Smart Addressing, another new feature, enables Netcenter members to find
information about other members by searching the Netcenter Member Directory
using their own Communicator address book. This same feature is available
when users are composing an e-mail message.

While most in the industry are optimistic about the release, some, such as
Dave Garaffa of’s Browserwatch, are
informing readers to be cautious about installing beta software. “If you
are not comfortable working with software that has known and unknown bugs
that could cause problems with your system, please refrain from downloading
the software,” said Garaffa.

For additional information about Netscape Communicator 4.5, visit Netscape Netcenter.

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