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Mobile

SCO's mobile service to talk to the masses

Company unveils service to let handheld devices distribute voice and text messages to individuals and groups of any size.

The SCO Group unveiled on Monday a mobile digital service that lets handheld devices distribute voice and text messages to groups and individuals, as well as record and display real-time research data.

The service, branded Me Inc., works with smart phones and other mobile devices to integrate them with back-end resources. SCO's new service comes at a time when shipments of personal digital assistants are reaching record levels.

With a Me Inc. subscription, the Unix software maker lets people share voice or text messages with individuals or groups of any size, as well as plan projects, delegate tasks and track the progress of work.

The service is also designed to let people record and display real-time research data for projects such as opinion polls. In addition, it lets people create groups with multimedia profiles from existing directories or from their mobile service.

SCO expects to begin selling the service next month via resellers and through its own Web site. Prices have not been released yet.

The service is designed to work with smart handheld devices, such as the Palm Treo. SCO expects in the near future to add devices such as Research In Motion's BlackBerry and ones that run on the Microsoft Windows Mobile and the Symbian operating systems.

Utah State University recently used a Me Inc. multimedia feature called Shout to alert the school's sports booster organization to a game cancellation when Hurricane Katrina prevented the Louisiana-based Nicholls State University team from coming to Utah.

"Using Shout, I was able to inform hundreds of USU boosters of our game cancellation with a simple 12-second audio message from my Treo," Tom Hale, executive director of Utah State's Big Blue booster program, said in SCO's statement.

Market researcher Gartner recently issued a report that PDA shipments reached 3.6 million units in the second quarter, up 32 percent from the same period a year ago. Gartner forecasts that a total of 15 million units are on track to ship by year's end, surpassing a previous record of 13.2 million in 2001.