Culture

Handspring to partner with wireless provider

The handheld maker plans to announce Wednesday a sales and marketing alliance with Infowave as part of its continued effort to crack the corporate market.

Handspring plans to announce Wednesday a sales and marketing alliance with wireless service provider Infowave as part of the handheld maker's continued effort to crack the corporate market.

Handspring, which has been largely a consumer brand for most of its history, has lined up several partners in recent weeks in attempts to win corporate customers. The company is also in the midst of shifting its focus from handheld organizers to the wireless market.

That's where Infowave comes in. Under the new deal, the Bellevue, Wash.-based company will work with Handspring to give corporate customers secure wireless access to various types of corporate data using Handspring's visor handhelds and forthcoming Treo cell phone/handheld device.

Handspring already has inked similar deals with companies such as Extended Systems, Synchrologic and Aether Systems.

One particular advantage of Infowave's approach is it offers a way to notify devices such as the Treo that there is new information to receive, said Sal Visca, Infowave's Chief Technology Officer. Some competitors require the device to dial-in every so often to check for new information.

The enterprise market is seen as key to the future of the handheld business, with nearly all such device makers trying to line up partners. In particular, companies are inking deals with a host of start-ups whose main business is providing wireless access to corporate information.

For example, although Palm is cutting 250 jobs from its payroll, the handheld leader is hiring corporate sales and business development workers. Sharp, which this week formally announced its Linux-based Zaurus handheld, is also gearing up to battle for corporate customers through a partnership with Aether.