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AvantGo to deliver corporate data, software to handhelds

The company known for delivering Internet content to handheld devices announces a service that will do the same for enterprise software applications and corporate information.

    AvantGo, known for delivering Internet content to handheld devices, today announced a service that will do the same for enterprise software applications and corporate information.

    The mobile content provider introduced AvantGo Enterprise, the company's first major foray into corporate sales. To date, AvantGo has been focused mainly on individual PDA (personal digital assistant) users, offering a free software download that allows devices to receive content from popular Internet sites, including The New York Times and Salon, on their PDAs.

    Now AvantGo is targeting corporations interested in using the same technology to send corporate applications, database information and content to employees' devices. The service will be targeted at companies using sales force automation software, document collaboration applications and real-time customer support, AvantGo said.

    The move reflects an overall effort on the part of mobile device companies, including Palm and Microsoft, to refocus from individual users to larger and potentially more lucrative corporate accounts. But while many companies individually support the devices employees buy, it is unclear how many will actually purchase them as productivity devices for their work force.

    Along these lines, Palm last year announced server software that would synchronize devices directly with corporate databases and servers. Microsoft, for its part, has signed deals with firms such as Anderson Consulting and has promoted seamless integration between their devices and Microsoft corporate operating systems. That hype has not always lived up to reality, however, with earlier versions of the Pocket PC suffering from problematic synchronization with the desktop.

    "With the introduction of AvantGo Enterprise Online, we give organizations the flexibility to choose how they deliver their mobile applications," said Rob Meinhardt, vice president of AvantGo, in a statement.

    AvantGo Enterprise Online has signed up some early customers, including UpShot.Com, My Docs Online and LiveConsultant.com, which will use the software to send their products to PDA users.

    The company will charge corporate customers a one-time fee and a per user charge.