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Good revamps wireless messaging software

The handheld equipment software company introduces an update to its GoodLink wireless e-mail and data product, which aims to make cell phones more like laptop computers.

SAN FRANCISCO--Good Technology introduced on Tuesday an update to its software that aims to make cell phones more like laptop computers.

Executives at a press event here showed off some of the new features in its GoodLink 3.0 messaging software, which include the ability to easily perform more than one task at a time, to view PC files in their native format and to preview incoming e-mail in ways similar to Microsoft's Outlook application.

"That ain't no berry--that's laptop power on a cell phone," Good CEO Danny Shader said, getting in a dig against larger rival Research In Motion, maker and service provider of BlackBerry handheld devices.

Good also announced that it is adding support for Windows Mobile-based devices, including handhelds based on the Pocket PC operating system. GoodLink already works on RIM devices as well as on PalmOne's Treo 600.

In addition to the new features, GoodLink 3.0 is designed to be easier for IT managers to administer than the previous version. Good hopes that if its software is easier to manage, companies will start giving mobile devices to employees beyond top management. Version 3.0 will be available later this month for download at no extra charge for existing customers.

Although the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company has been making inroads in the handheld software and service market, RIM remains the leader, having signed up more than 1 million customers for its wireless messaging service.

In addition to their battle in the marketplace, RIM and Good have been engaged in a legal battle, with several lawsuits winding their way through the court system.

The GoodLink event drew a number of top executives, such as Palm co-founder Jeff Hawkins, PalmSource CEO David Nagel and executives from Electronic Arts, Dell and Microsoft.

Tim Mattox, vice president of client marketing at Dell, said "smart" handhelds will increase in popularity but that they won't threaten traditional laptops for 10 years or so because of constraints with keyboard and screen size, processing power and battery life.

Although Good originally started as a consumer-oriented company, its current business centers on signing large businesses to use its software. Webcor, a large construction company, will release 200 Good-enabled handhelds within 60 days to its project directors, who manage construction projects on-site. Gregg Davis, chief information officer of Webcor, said that overall, the company is trying to reduce the number of devices in the field from three (a laptop, a handheld and a cell phone) to 1.5, on average. Webcor will also develop a camera application to better send photos from remote locations.

CNET News.com's Michael Kanellos contributed to this report.