are each rolling out their own
mobile computing software products this week for extending enterprise
applications to handheld computers.
Avantgo today introduced AvantGo Web Client and AvantGo Desktop, software
that extends beyond intranets to handheld devices including products
such as the 3Com PalmPilot connected
organizer based on the Palm Computing platform and Microsoft's Windows CE-compatible
handhelds, such as the recently released Gryphon.
Industry observers say more of these packages could be on the
way as major intranet software vendors notice the influx of handhelds into
the corporate mobile workforce.
Regularly priced at $99 per seat, AvantGo Web Client and Desktop bundle can
be downloaded for a free 45-day evaluation from the company's Web site. To
use the product, customers need AvantGo software, a desktop or laptop
computer running Microsoft Windows NT or 95, and a handheld device with its
included cradle or docking station.
The AvantGo Web Client is actually a Web browser that resides on the
handheld device, giving users a way to find and review information on
handheld computers by tapping on hypertext links with a pen. AvantGo
software stores HTML and text files as well as GIF and JPEG graphics
images in compressed formats to conserve memory on the handhelds and to
reduce synch time.
AvantGo Desktop enables mobile users to define how sets of HTML pages,
called "channels," are managed on their handheld computers. Each channel
begins with a top document identified by its URL and includes all of the
associated documents related by hypertext links. With the AvantGo Desktop,
users can set up a number of channels or URLs by themselves. And with AvantGo's server, due out in the first half of this year, a central
administrator will be able to manage the configuration of the channels and
delivery of information to the mobile users, according to the company.
Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Lotus, an IBM subsidiary, tomorrow will post EasySync
Release 2 for Lotus Notes on its Web site, the company said.
EasySync is designed to enable two-way information synchronization between
Lotus Notes and Organizer and 3Com's PalmPilot and IBM's WorkPad PC
Priced at $55 per license, Lotus's EasySync Release 2 provides email,
calendar, contacts, tasks and journal or memo, and synchronization between the
handheld devices and Notes 4.52 or higher. It also requires Windows NT or
95, as well as 3Com's HotSync Manager 2.0 or higher, which ships with all
PalmPilots and IBM WorkPads.
"This is a powerful idea," Diana Huang, an analyst with
International Data Corporation, said. "All
the daily changes can be made on the device on the road, then downloaded to
the server back in the office."
Both companies touted their products as ways for businesses to spread their
intranet infrastructure outside the office and out to the "mobile workforce."
Huang said there is growth in the corporate
market for handhelds, and intranet software suppliers such as Lotus as well
as smaller companies such as AvantGo are looking to take advantage of that
growth by supporting the corporate customer with products linking the office
to the mobile user. "With all of these handheld devices coming into the
corporation, vendors are looking for ways to connect them to the intranet," she said.