Exploring LotusLive Symphony

Today at its Lotusphere 2011 event in Orlando, IBM announced tech preview of LotusLive Symphony, a Web-based office app duo to extend its Lotus Symphony productivity suite. I reviewed the desktop-bound edition of Symphony a few months back, and Andrew Garcia took on the LotusLive online collaboration service.

It’s interesting to see IBM add a Web app component to Symphony, much as Microsoft has done with its own Office 2010 and Office Web Apps offerings. I tend to use a combination of Web and desktop-native apps in my daily work–both platforms offer certain advantages, so why not take advantage of both?

After spending about 20 minutes of wandering within LotusLive Symphony–a few minutes of which I’ve embedded for your viewing below–it seems that IBM’s new Web apps, which include word processing and spreadsheet components, are off to a decent enough start.

I tried the new Web-based Symphony out with one of Microsoft’s Word-formatted reviewer guides–these tend to be heavily formatted, so they offer a decent test of applications’ Office-format fidelity chops. I found various small formatting issues, which is the standard I’ve come to expect. One feature that caught my eye was a task assignment capability I’ve not seen in competing Web-based products.

What’s your take on Web-based versions of existing desktop apps? Me-too feature of the new decade, wise embrace of the Web, or something else?