adobe.bmpAdobe and others continue to roll out new software iterations, all challenging Microsoft’s dominance of popular consumer software.

Adobe recently released Apollo, a software that lets developers create Web applications that work online and offline on your desktop. Today, Adobe also releases Creative Suite, which bridges the gap between Adobe’s design software, such as image editor Photoshop and Illustrator, and its Web-development tools like Flash and Dreamweaver. (See announcement here).

The new features allow designers to manipulate video images frame by frame inside Photoshop, for example. A new product called Device Central allows developers to test their programs on virtual versions of 200 mobile phones and devices — over their computer screens. (See Mercury News review here)

slingshot.bmpMeanwhile, another company, Joyent, of San Anselmo, Calif., has released Slingshot, a platform that, like Adobe’s Apollo, lets people build sophisticated applications that work online and offline on your desktop. Slingshot supports Rails developers. A Slingshot application on your desktop will function just like the Web version, and sync automatically once you access the Web. This is another way to bypass the Web browser. These Slingshot apps let you drag and drop files from one application to and from other apps on your desktop. It is like Microsoft Office/Outlook, though better: If you’re using someone else’s computer, you can access the Web version, and it provides a better experience than say, Microsoft’s web version (if you’ve tried Microsoft’s Web email offering, Webmail, it is clunky). More details here, and screencast here. The LA Times and several other companies are already using Joyent’s service for their applications. Joyent itself offers Web apps that exploit this, including for email, calendaring and contacts.

Meanwhile, Zimbra, another messaging company, has just released its own version of software that works offline.

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