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Good reaches out to more devices

Good Technology releases new messaging software and adds partners as it looks to attract more enterprise customers by broadening the device and network compatibility of its software.

Good Technology is releasing new messaging software and adding partners as it looks to attract more enterprise customers by broadening the device and network compatibility of its software.

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based start-up said that version 2.0 of its GoodLink software is immediately available and that it has partnerships with cellular network carrier Cingular Wireless and device maker Handspring. Good's software allows corporate workers to access company data, such as e-mail and other files on a network, wirelessly on portable devices. Synchronization with company data can be performed wirelessly, a significant feature for the software developer.

Good is targeting businesses with its software, and the message the start-up is hearing is that potential customers want a piece of software that can be used with the network and devices that are already in place instead of having to purchase new devices and become familiar with new networks, company Chief Executive Danny Shader said. That means messaging software companies such as Good and Research In Motion must make their products compatible with many different devices and operating systems as well as with first- and second-generation cellular networks.

Good?s GoodLink messaging software currently works on the Mobitex network through RIM devices, as well as Good's own G100 device.

Always-on wireless capability has been viewed as the next major enhancement for handheld devices, but so far, devices with those features have accounted for only a fraction of overall handheld shipments, which are sliding, according to research firm IDC.

Market leader RIM reported a total of 615,000 subscribers to its service in April. In comparison, the handheld market shipped 2.45 million units worldwide in the first quarter, which is down more than 21 percent.

Among the "big blockers to mass deployment" of always-on wireless messaging has been wide compatibility of software with multiple devices and networks, Shader said. Good has "always promised, and we're now delivering" wide compatibility with multiple devices and networks, Shader said. Good has more than 750 companies using its software and is expected to update that figure this week.

The company recently laid off much of its hardware development team to focus on developing its software and partnering.

Version 2.0 of GoodLink supports voice and data devices on next-generation cellular networks, including 1xRTT and GPRS (General Packet Radio Service). Among the early devices to take advantage of new features built into the software is Handspring's Treo 600 device, a combination cell phone and organizer. The device with Good's software is expected this fall on the Sprint cellular network.

Devices using Windows Mobile 2003 Pocket PC operating system and the GoodLink software will be available by the end of the year. Good has also struck a deal with PalmSource to make its software compatible with the market-share-leading handheld OS.

In related news, Handspring announced partnerships with two other messaging software developers to offer wireless e-mail access on its Treo 600 device. The Mountain View, Calif.-based company is working with Seven and Visto, as well as Good Technology, to offer several different e-mail solutions and partners from which carriers can choose for the Treo 600.

Handspring is in the process of being acquired by the hardware division of Palm, a deal that is expected to close this month. Palm's will spin off its software subsidiary, PalmSource, at the same time.