IBM is planning to release on Dec. 14 a public beta of Notes and Domino 9.0 Social Edition that will no longer use the Lotus brand.
IBM has decided to offer a public beta, the first in a long time for Notes and Domino, because of the importance of the release, Ed Brill, director of product line management and in charge of IBM's Collaboration Solutions, said in a blog post.
This beta also signals the point where Notes and Domino will join IBM's other software products in sporting only the IBM name, which the company feels is a stronger brand than Lotus, according to Brill.
The Lotus brand became part of IBM when the company acquired Lotus Development Corp. in 1995.
The new release of Notes and Domino was previously known as 8.5.4, but it includes so many new features that IBM feels it deserves to be called 9.0. There will still be an 8.5.4 maintenance release, with no new features, sometime in 2013, Brill said.
One of the new features allows some Notes applications to run unmodified in a browser on a Windows PC, once the browser has been equipped with a plug-in. Enterprises don't have to install the full Notes client for the application to work.
The upgrade will also include a modernized user interface, new mail and calendar features, SAML (Security Assertion Markup Language) support, Traveler support on System i server, and a number of enhancements to the XPages development platform.
The Notes and Domino Social Edition was first unveiled at Lotusphere 2012 and has been in development for more than a year, according to Brill. The first external beta code was released in April this year on a limited basis.
Enterprises that are interested in testing the public beta once it has been released can sign up here.
The plan is to have the new release ready for launch by the first quarter of next year.