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Netscape puts data on the road

Netscape says it is building software to link the Calendar feature of its Communicator Professional to the PalmPilot handheld computer.

Users of Netscape Communications' (NSCP) Communicator Internet client soon will be able to take their data on the go.

Today Netscape announced plans to develop software that will connect the Calendar feature in its Communicator Professional Edition with the PalmPilot, 3Com's popular handheld computer.

The software, called Netscape Calendar Link for PalmPilot, will let users synchronize their schedules between their desktop computers and the PalmPilot. However, the software initially won't allow them to synchronize the address book component of Communicator with the names, phone numbers, and other personal data in the PalmPilot.

Netscape is a newcomer to the calendar and group scheduling market, which already has well entrenched players such as Microsoft, Lotus Development, and many others. As mobile devices such as the PalmPilot become popular, connectivity between the devices and desktop programs is becoming key so that users can easily swap schedule data between both platforms.

Already the PalmPilot is able to connect to more than a dozen desktop applications, including Symantec Act, Ecco from NetManage, Lotus Notes, Lotus Organizer, and Microsoft Outlook. By improving the links between Netscape Calendar and PalmPilot, Netscape could compete more effectively with those applications.

Netscape Calendar Link will be available as a free add-on to Communicator by fall for Windows 95 and Windows NT. PalmPilot starts at $299, while Communicator Professional Edition costs $79.