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(December 1999 to January 1999)


Dec 27,  1999 - Go2 Gives Web Power to Mobile Phones (courtesy Internet Week)

Furthering the evolution of Web-enabled mobile phones, Go2 Systems Inc. said it has made more than 300 topic-specific Web sites available to users of any mobile phone with Internet capability. These sites enable users to turn to their phones or other wireless Web devices for information on local merchants,
including directions to stores, store hours, parking and sale specials.

Go2's services and information will be offered through mobile platform providers such as Phone.com, which makes software to translate Web pages into cell-phone screens. "Go2 has significantly increased the availability of location-based information to the mobile user," said Ben Linder, vice president of marketing of Phone.com.

The topic-specific Go2 Web sites, called Go2 NetGates, deliver listings, ranked by proximity to the user, of more than 11 million stores and destinations. The NetGates represent a large portion of the U.S. Web sites now available via wireless Internet access. Go2 said it plans to eventually develop as many as 2,000 additional topic-specific sites. The vendor's patented world geographic reference system technology is compatible with the wireless applications protocol (WAP), an open, global specification enabling access to information and services using wireless devices.

The sites are accessible by specific topics, such as Go2coffee.com, Go2hotels.com, Go2burgers.com or Go2banks.com. Real-time information is provided based on the user's precise location or intended destination.

The Go2 system is paid for by advertising. Companies pay for specialized listings, or for premium space on Go2's Web site.-Christine Zimmerman.

Go to http://www.internetwk.com/lead/lead122899.htm for further information.

MobileInfo Advisory: Location-specific content and related technology are hot horizontal applications that will see significant growth during 2000-2001. Back the right horse!

December 13, 1999 Puma Technology Teams with Sterling Commerce’s Managed Systems Division to Provide Enterprise Management Tool For All Popular Handheld Platforms


December 13 – Puma Technology, Inc. a leading provider of mobile device management and synchronization software, and Sterling Commerce’s Managed Systems Division (MSD), a provider of remote systems management solutions, announced a strategic partnership to develop Enterprise Intellsync.

With Enterprise Intellsync, corporations will be able to integrate handheld devices (notebooks, smart phones, PDAs, etc.) into networks by centralizing the management of corporate data. Enterprise Intellsync will allow IT managers not only to view applications and data residing in a user’s mobile computing devices but also to install Puma Enterprise solutions from a centralized location. Enterprise Intellsync will enhance support, maintenance and security while saving the corporation time and money.

MobileInfo Advisory: Puma has become a recognized player for data synchronization between handheld devices and desktops. This step is a natural progression to the enterprise arena. Sterling will help Puma in the development of a server-based synchronization and associated management.  However, this is not an easy area to conquer.

December 10, 1999 Ericsson – Microsoft joint venture to develop mobile Internet Appliance


December 10 – Two giants -- Ericsson Inc. and Microsoft announced in Stockholm an extensive partnership to develop mobile Internet solutions. The foundation for the partnership will be a jointly owned company, which will be involved in several areas.

The first application to be developed will allow users to send email using BlueTooth and WAP as well as further development of open industry standards for products based on BlueTooth, WAP and UpnP (Universal Plug –and-Play). By the beginning of 2001, Ericsson feature phones will use Microsoft’s Mobile Explorer that will use both HTML and WAP. In addition, the partnership will develop solutions for secure wireless e-commerce.

Some viewed this new partnership to be in conflict with Ericsson’s commitment to Symbian and the EPOC project, but an Ericsson representative reassured those present that " . . . Because EPOC is so flexible, it allows them to include other applications in their products."

MobileInfo Advisory: Smart telephone based web appliance market is attracting large players.  It is a virgin territory but one with a lot of potential. Ericsson seems to be covering all its bases - a smart move in our view because PalmOS, EPOC and Windows CE are all, at the current moment, candidates for the underlying OS. However, Ericsson has not yet committed to Windows CE but to Mobile Explorer only. However, in our view, OS is far less important here in this space - it is the form factor, user interface experience, and cost of the device that will determine success and who wins the battle. 

November 16, 1999 [RIM’s] Agreement with Leading Law Firm To Supply Blackberry Wireless Email Solution


November 16 – Research In Motion Limited (RIM) announces that it has signed an agreement with Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher (GD&C), an international law, to supply Blackberry wireless email solution to 500 lawyers and administrators in the firm’s 10 American offices.

For GD&C responsiveness and security are critical. Clients expect easy and constant access to their lawyers. With Blackberry, even when lawyers are traveling or in depositions or courtrooms, where cell phones are not an option, they can stay in touch.

In most corporate environments, email security is a major priority. The Blackberry incorporates an advanced security model using Triple DES encryption technology. The security design is encrypted behind the company’s firewall before it is sent to the wireless handheld.

MobileInfo Advisory: RIM's Blackberry interactive wireless device continues to be a high-function wireless e-mail device that busy professionals find very attractive. Price is one of factors slowing its widespread adoption. We expect cheaper models of Blackberry soon - to a point where it may encroach on the territory of two-way pagers but with the distinct advantage of a keyboard. Can RIM pack the telephone in there?


December 14, 1999 What’s the Standard for the Wireless Web


December 14 – Wireless capability is the key component in making pervasive computing a reality – but what the standard will be for the Wireless Web is anyone’s guess.

It appears that the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP), which incorporates the Wireless Markup Language, has extensive support. The WAP Forum, including Nokia, Ericsson and Motorola, will introduce version 1.2 of the technology in early 2000. However, some supporters of WAP are also supporting alternative technologies promising a single Internet language rather than backing the Wireless Markup Language – HTML combination. A single language would eliminate the need for additional infrastructure and would have the capacity to deliver desktop applications to the small screen without compromise. The recent Ericsson-Microsoft deal that will be in part looking at evolving WAP more in the Extensible Markup Language (XML) direction is evidence of such divided loyalties.

Then there is Citrix’s Independent Computing Architecture (ICA) Protocol, now used in Microsoft ‘s Windows Terminal software. Citrix claims that ICA provides the best solution for the small screen.

December 13, 1999 WAP-on-a-SIM offers new service on old phones


December 13 – Mobile software house Across Wireless AB of Sweden has designed SIM cards incorporating a Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) browser. This innovative use of SIM cards allows mobile users to access WAP services without having to purchase a new phone.

Both Norway’s Telenor Mobile and Singapore Telecom have deployed Across’ SIM cards. Even though SIM cards make access possible, its limited space means that graphics are not an option, for instance, the commands that appear on the screen and drive a WAP system can only be layered, a few levels deep. The system is designed to work with any phone compatible with the industry standard SIM Toolkit allowing onscreen menus that give access to services built over-the-air, rather than having to be hardwired into the handset.

The problems of implementing WAP 1.1 have delayed the rollout of handset by Ericsson and Nokia thus making the Across’ SIM implementation an attractive option, as it provides access to WAP independent of the network and the device.

MobileInfo Advisory: This is only an interim move with no future in the North American context.

December 9, 1999 DataLink.net to Develop Wireless Solutions for Linux Systems


December 9 – DataLink.net, Inc., a wireless service provider and leader in Web-to-Wireless convergence, announced that it is expanding Xpresslink Application Server technology to support the Linux operating system.

DataLink.net anticipates the growth of Linux as an enterprise operating system will create a new market segment for the Company. By developing on a Linux based platform, DataLink.net will be able to provide and support wireless solutions for the Linux customer.

MobileInfo Advisory: It was but natural that somebody will start developing Linux-based application server for wireless-to-web interface. Cost, open-ness and reliability of Linux should help in its adoption.  

December 1, 1999 IBM, Sprint to jointly develop wireless data services


December 1 -- IBM and Sprint announced their partnership to develop wireless data services. In support of IBM’s strategy of pervasive computing, the agreement addresses the need for clear, mobile access to any information, on any device, virtually anywhere, anytime.

The new services, planned for early next year, will allow businesses to use Sprint PCS Wireless Web to send and receive email and access other corporate applications. One of the key elements to the service is the delivery of "real time" data using Sprint PCS Internet-ready Phones. This means that data transactions will not suffer delays.

IBM will supply the hosting services. IBM stated "It will provide extensions to its existing corporate enterprise software products, including database, messaging and device management, enabling wireless networks to accommodate the delivery of mission-critical data and transactions to and from a variety of devices."

MobileInfo Advisory: Yet another move in the crowded wireless internet arena where everybody is covering its bases. . 



December 15, 1999 Palm IPO Plan Boosts Platform Support: Partners from IBM and Motorola to Nokia and Handspring plan Palm extensions


December 15 – Following on the heals of 3Com’s earlier announcement to spin out part of its Palm Computing subsidiary, the Company announced that it has filed a registration statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering. This further adds to the enthusiasm for the spin-off from some of its large and new partners like American Online, Nokia and Motorola that have agreed to purchase up to 4.5 percent of Palm’s total stock, investing up to $225 million. All this suggests that Palm’s software platform may appear in a multitude of devices in the coming months.

MobileInfo Advisory: 3COM did the right thing in liberating Palm Computing. It is good for the user community, great for the Palm Computing shareholders and beneficial to the third-part application developers. Users should see many new enterprise applications based on PalmOS.  

Nov 1999 - Handheld devices, blue tooth technology and wireless access to the Internet made a big splash in the Fall Comdex in Las Vegas.

Nov 1999 - Big research companies have sounded alarms about the total cost of ownership (TCO) for handheld devices in the enterprise- saying it is five times the cost of the device - around $2500 per annum. "All the more reason for paying attention to making technology decisions on the basis of all components" - Editor

November 1999 - At the Wireless IT conference in Santa Clara, California, wireless access to the Internet was key topic. WAP garnered a lot of attention. Where were the application developers and systems integrators?

October 1999 - At Telecom 99 and Palm Source Conference in Santa Clara, California, there was agreement between Palm Computing and Sambian Consortium  to cross-license PalmOS and EPOC to create devices with best of both worlds - telephone support of EPOC and simple user interface of PalmOS. Will this succeed ? Yes, if users demand that vendors should deliver on their promises.  

October 1999- Motorola announces MIX - a new protocol for Internet access for a number of mobile devices. Go to Motorola site for more.

Oct 1999 - Palm Computing reduces Palm VII prices

In a news item on this web site in April 1999 (see further down this archived news bulletin),  MobileInfo urged Palm to reduce their Palm VII wireless network usage pricing by 50%. Palm Computing listened to us and others. It has now responded by reducing price of Palm VII  (with wireless service included) to $499. Was it us or the market pressure? Either way, it is a good move - Palm!

Sep 1999 - Palm Computing now faces competition from HandSpring

HandSpring, started by ex-Palm executives, notably Donna Dubinsky & Hawkins has introduced Visor product line - at a price point that is lower than that of Palm devices. One interesting feature with Visor is expansion slot for digital cameras and other digital appliances. Does it mean cheaper handheld entry devices in general? Mobileinfo thinks both categories - low end Palm IIIs and eventually high-end Palm VII will come down in price. MobileInfo expects that Palm will raise the bar with cheaper and more functional Palm VII that will fit the bill for the enterprise.

MobileInfo Advisory :In a period where entry point for introducing handheld devices has come down, and variety of products that you must choose from has increased, the enterprise mobile computing professional is naturally confused. Mobileinfo believes that this trend will continue into 2000. However, there will be an inevitable  rationalization in the industry in 2000-2001 timeframe with many small vendors loosing their shirt and closing their shops. The users could learn some lessons from other markets. Did not Qualcomm pull out of the PCS handset market? Our recommendation is to stay with mainstream vendors who respond to user's requirements, and have staying power. You should ensure that applications you develop run on more than one device platform or can be easily ported to another platform. If not, write off the application in 6-18 months.  In this context, MOBILEINFO applauds the objectives of IBM's pervasive computing initiative.  We do hope that they can deliver on this worthwhile objective of multi-device support for the enterprise applications.

Sep, 1999 Faster Frequency Hopping Wireless LAN

FCC is expected to increase the bandwidth that vendors can use for their frequency hopping Wireless LAN radios in the 2.4 GHz unlicensed spectrum - from 1 MHz to 5 MHz. This will not only increase competition in the frequency hopping product line but also allow higher speeds and throughput that you need for multimedia applications. Now frequency hopping can catch up with 10-11 Mbps speeds of DS products. The objections of DS vendor community are not in the interest of user community and they must oppose it. We should encourage FCC and other regulatory bodies to do this expeditiously so that users can have more choices and technology can move forward. The increased bandwidth and concern for interference from other users of this frequency can be solved by a decrease in power specification of the radios which will reduce distances - lead to more access points - well worth the advantage, in MOBILEINFO's and users' viewpoint . 

Sep 13, 1999 - 3COM announces separate public-traded company for Palm Computing

3COM announced creation of a separate publicly-traded company to operate and manage Palm Computing subsidiary.  The new company will focus on Palm Pilot technology, hotSynch, Web-Clipping and emerging wireless-internet technologies.

MobileInfo Advisory :MobileInfo believes that this is a good strategic move on 3-COM's part and gives Palm Computing the freedom that it needs to grow in a fast-paced handheld market. The main beneficiary would be Palm Pilot users, shareholders of the new company, and to a small extent 3-COM.

Sep 1999 - Web PDA by Sun, Mitsubishi & ISI

Watch for two developments - one Web PDA - backed by Sun, Mitsubishi and ISI - an RTOS developer for the wireless Internet appliance space, second, a PSION developed sub-notebook based on EPOC32. Web PDA is based on 80 MHz Mitsubishi processor, VGA color display, PSOS operating system, pJava 1.1, Assistant PIM and Ebox e-mail client. Everybody is flexing muscles every way - hardware, OS, and applications. Clearly, choices of form factor and operating environments are increasing for the end user.  So is the need to make a right choice!

MobileInfo Advisory : Mobileinfo feels that in case of embedded systems, OS will become relevant for the application integrators only - it is less important to worry about sophistication of the OS for the end user organizations. Functionality provided, level of customization available, staying power of the vendors, their commitment to a given hardware and OS platform (versus technology trial balloons), and API's available to corporate data through web application servers are key criteria to consider.  Finally, accept shorter replacement cycle for these devices - only a bit longer than cellular phones!

Aug 1999 - WECA (Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance)

An alliance comprised of Lucent, Nokia, 3COM, Aironet, Symbol and Intersil, have set out a lofty objective of setting standards for wireless LANs in public places (airports, malls, hotels, etc) which will allow mobile users high speed access to the Internet.

MobileInfo Advisory : Mobileinfo is pleased to note that vendors are realizing that time has come to take wireless data to the public places.  We believe that this is the right and perfect architecture for wireless WAN infrastructure that will increase the speed of wireless access. We have been saying that wireline and wireless technologies must converge and work in tandem. After all, it is in these public places that mobile users spend a lot of their time waiting. Let 3G solve the problems of true mobility on the road. Let Wireless LAN and backend wireline infrastructure be utilized together to give users the speed that they have got accustomed to.  However, before we comment on WECA, we must applaud the effort of MobileStar ISP who has spent almost two years ironing out implementation issues of doing the same thing in hotels and airports.  We do not believe that the industry needs another alliance. The right forum for this should have been Wireless LAN Interoperability Forum.  The real issue is not lower layer (network and MAC layers) standards - they are already there (IEEE 802.11).  Vendors should work with real estate companies and owners of public places to convince them of the need to provide access.  Vendors should also worry about non-technical issues of regulations, health and safety perceptions of wireless technologies that we must change before these devices become common place like telephone kiosks.   We would encourage NSPs (network service providers) and telephone companies to get involved because they know how to deal with malls, plazas, buildings, airports, etc.

Aug 1999- WAP gets a nod of approval from 3COM.

Palm Pilot will support WAP also, besides web clipping technology.

MobileInfo Advisory : WAP is rolling down successfully with a significant vendor support, especially in the smart phone arena.  It made sense for 3COM to do this.  Advice to the hardware developers - do not avoid or postpone support for WAP. Advice to WAP Forum - enhance WAP to get some of the features of web-clipping that you do not have.

SPRINT offers nationwide wireless PCS service to access the Internet (Aug 1999)

Sprint PCS will offer in September 1999 a nationwide wireless data service on its CDMA network that will allow WAP-enabled smart phones (such as Newpoint NP 1000) to access the Internet. A simplified micro browser from Phone.Com will allow text-only viewing of contents from selected Web sites. Yahoo will send personalized updates (weather, stock quotes, news and other data). It will also allow phone to be used in place of a modem to connect user's PDAs or laptops to the network.

The service will send data at 14.4 Kbps (versus 8 Kbps of Bell South's Mobitex network and 4800/19200 bps of ARDIS). It will cost $9.95 for 50 date minutes and 50 Yahoo updates. Smart phones supported are NewPoint ($399) and Denso's TouchPoint phone ($199).  Later, SPRINT will support pdQ as well.

MobileInfo Advisory : We see this announcement as the first of a series of premium services to allow wireless connection to the Internet. These services will be attractive to those who are willing to pay for these services - professionals and busy executives.

Aug 99- TWIST - a 3COM, PageNet and CA consortium will provide Network administration on paging network and PalmPilot device platforms

The three vendors announced an initiative called TWIST - The Wireless Intelligent Support Technology that adds wireless management features to CA Center's TNG and forthcoming Jasmine TND products.

MobileInfo Advisory : We see this announcement nothing dramatic in terms of innovation - most systems management tool vendors support pagers. However, it is another validation of a popular PDA platform for network management.  Is PalmPlot an appropriate device platform for systems or network management personnel to carry around?  We say, yes to a limited extent because PalmPilot is much more functional than a pager.  In our view, pDQ from Qualcomm is n even better device platform for this application because it contains the PCS phone in the same unit. But then, 3COM might be positioning itself for a future form factor of PalmPilot. Nonetheless, we welcome 3COM's bold initiatives from software and network perspectives, even though the device is weak from a functional point of view. Should CA not team up with RIM of Waterloo, Ontario to give its 950 interactive pager the same capability? Hope both vendors are reading our news and comments.

3COM and Aether Join To Form OpenSky (July 1999)

3COM and Aether announced the formation of a joint venture called OpenSky to deliver next-generation wireless data services to corporations and consumers. In December 1998, 3COM invested 6 million US$ in Aether.  Aether is a mobile computing applications development tool provider.  OpenSky will extend web-clipping technology implemented in Palm VII and Palm.Net to devices other than Palm VII including competitive Windows CE.  This will allow PDAs, pagers, and other devices to access ERP, CRM, messaging, and Internet e-mail applications. The company is saying that they will launch the service by year's end.

MobileInfo Advisory : Mobile computing architects evaluating enterprise applications and use of the Internet through wireless networks should watch this announcement and its progress carefully. Mobileinfo Editor and Principal Consultant has always contended that wireless Internet will not fly into the OpenSky (no pun intended, please) unless filtering or web clipping techniques are used. We applaud 3COM for this. Looks like 3COM is serious about wireless data and mobile computing. Watch for more news on this.

Motorola-Sun Deal Worth US$1-billion (July 1999)

It takes the visionaries at Motorola to see the light and bow gracefully to customer requirements. After rather strenuous efforts in the past to develop proprietary protocols for wireless transport - not one but many e.g. Datatac, Flex, iDEN and more - they have decided to swim with the tide of IP-based messaging and we hope, other wireless data applications. They have teamed with Sun this time in a billion dollar deal to take IP to radio base stations, call processors and to their back-end servers that interface with application servers. In order to do this, you need IP-based high-availability carrier class base station servers (the innocuous boxes) that sit underneath or close to those radio towers. You need call processors and back-office servers that interface to Java applications on PDAs, smart telephones, pagers and myriad of personal information appliances.

Mobileinfo Advisory : We welcome this initiative but we recommend that you quiz the vendors when they present this development to you.  It is not just IP that we want on wireless networks - it is optimized and spoofed IP for wireless networks that we want.  It is the Mobile IP that follows us around. Let both vendors understand - we think they do - that they must consider the limited bandwidth of radio networks and do optimized IP for mobile applications. Slapping of high-speed wireline IP protocols on to radio networks, even the 3-G versions, would not work in our estimation. If we are wrong, please convince us with your arguments.  We are listening.

Pervasive Computing - (July 1999)

IBM coins another marketing phrase for the technology that will allow myriad of personal information appliances (PCS telephones, PDAs, organizers and palm Pilots) to access enterprise applications and data.  Imagine the ability to change your flight from your wireless telephone or submit a sales order while you are talking to the customer. What is so exotic about this application - you may ask?. Lack of architected solutions based on "business objects" and component technology that do not force you to build custom solutions and have end-to-end transaction integrity. Which devices and which networks to support and should you limit this capability to PCS telephones only? That's where reliable transaction middleware like IBM's MQSeries and wireless middleware from Nettech come into play. Also, your mobile application on the new breed of devices must interface to web servers, application servers, mobile servers, database servers and much more in this solution. Is it simple? MobileInfo says - no, it is very complex. This is the space IBM intends to address through its pervasive computing. However, this is no mean task as serious enterprise solution architects will attest to our statement. Initially, we expect the major vendors, such as IBM  (and soon Oracle and Microsoft through MSMQ)  to create enterprise solutions that address their own software infrastructure environments and products in a superior fashion. This strategy will enable IBM to sell predominantly a single-vendor solution more easily. Of course, IBM does have one advantage in this space. Besides their own brand of mainframes, IBM's MQSeries does interface with different application environments, such as those from Oracle, Tandem, Sybase, Microsoft, etc.

The real question is whether IBM will take advantage of this apparent advantage they have (excuse us for repeating the word) and implement solutions in a multi-vendor and multi-OS environment. Notwithstanding what IBM does, we expect that a few enterprising startups will venture to do the same job in a multi-vendor environment during 1999-2000 using Web Methods (a Bay area vendor) type of technology. Will these startups deliver transaction integrity that MQSeries provides? MobileInfo would say - perhaps not - it is not that easy to provide end-to-end transaction integrity with "two-phase commit". But let us not count them out. Initially, these vendors would cater to small and medium-size businesses who do not have the integrity-conscious infrastructure architects (call them ivory-tower IT professionals, if you like). We expect that they will be somewhat successful because MQ series implementation is a serious mega-dollar business meant for serious IT applications - banking, airline reservation, sales order processing, electronic funds transfer, etc.. Perhaps, IBM will downsize MQ Series to the smaller platforms in future. Otherwise Microsoft's MSMQ might take the lead on the lower end of the spectrum.

Do you want to read IBM's White paper on pervasive computing? MOBILEINFO says it is a recommended reading. Click here to access it.

Mobileinfo Advisory : Mobile application designers and architects must keep abreast of this trend  - we expect several product solutions to emerge during the later part of 1999 and early 2000. So hold your horses before you build your own custom solution with these devices and application interfaces unless you can not wait and must achieve a marketing advantage over your competition.  In that case, be prepared to switch to vendor- provided solutions in future. Better still, partner with a vendor that is serious about this product space and let this vendor develop the product with your functional requirements on the top of its own priority list of features and functions.   MobileInfo recommends large enterprises to investigate IBM's architecture on pervasive computing - we like the principles and components utilized in the architecture. Others with smaller pockets may investigate less-expensive solutions from third party vendors.

Convergence of Wireless, Mobility and Unified Messaging (June 1999)

Microsoft puts a stake in unified messaging with enhanced wireless support for Exchange clients when it releases Platinum incarnation of Exchange. We think it is a good strategy but we caution that you should tread carefully with voice and fax on wireless networks - may be third generation networks will help in 3-5 years. See PC Week - June 14, 1999 issue for more details

MobileInfo Advisory : No immediate action required on the part of user organizations except to watch developments in unified messaging. Gain some experience in the next millennium on the wireline side first and jump into wireless when third generation networks become common. Messaging software developers should get moving.

More Acquisitions in LMDS - broadband wireless arena (June 1999)

June 1999 - Motorola-Cisco joint venture bought Bosch - an LMDS hardware manufacturer (transceivers and termination boxes for wireless local service) and renamed it SpectraPoint. Meanwhile NewBridge of Kanata, Ontario bought Stanford Telecom - a Bay area LMDS company.

MobileInfo Advisory : Network architects and planners, especially those considering wireless-based Internet and VPN connections to their enterprise should start considering this technology for projects to be implemented in the future years - 2000 onwards.  Special attention by those investigating getting into the local access game (Telecom service providers, NSPs, and ISPs) for the last mile for "predominantly one-way" media broadcast, software distribution, and urgent data replication applications.

BlueTooth wireless networking technology (June 1999)

BlueTooth is making rapid progress with hardware expected in 4Q 1999 or 1Q 2000. Software driver developers should get moving. Good work, Ericsson, Intel and other members of BlueTooth group! But make sure that price of hardware is competitive with IrDA - now in $2 to $5 range. 

MobileInfo Advisory : No immediate action required by enduser organizations except to watch the developments. Those users who are looking at infrared technology for the same function should wait to get more flexibility with BlueTooth. BlueTooth has 8-10 meters range and is multipoint in nature. The users  should understand distance restrictions with infrared (about one metre).  But infrared has been here for some time - a relatively matured and inexpensive technology now.  The mobile database and file replication vendors should start building software support for BlueTooth soon.

3COM Moves into Mobile Computing Seriously (April-May 1999)

3COM is actively pursuing the wireless computing market - with 802.11 compatible wireless LAN adapters, wireless-enabled Palm Pilot VII,   BellSouth's network support and more. 3COM hopes that Palm VII will legitimize PDA in the enterprise. For e-mail and low function business applications, yes. Will this trend lead to mobile professionals carrying two devices - PDA always and a notebook sometimes for heavy-duty and full-function applications? Mobileinfo believes that this dual device trend may succeed. We still believe that pdQ-like (telephone & organizer combined) device might be the answer for the elusive "must-carry-everywhere" device.    But we urge 3COM and Bell South to rethink their price plan (downwards by 50%) for Palm.Net. Our advice - invest in the future. Let the Palm Pilot corporate usage expand and then reap the benefits.

MobileInfo Advisory : Take Palm VII (and Windows CE devices, as well) more seriously as an enterprise tool for fixed function (and limited function) mobile applications. Avoid the debate between WIN CE and Palm Pilot. If your application is simple and structured, choose whichever device provides the business functionality better and is preferred by the user community. If your application programmer can write the code with a few days training - why worry about many differences between two platforms so long as the project architect understands enterprise software compatibility and distribution issues. Ease of application programming should be secondary to the solution meeting user's needs.   Do not ignore the cost of ownership, support costs and network management issues.  We advocate application development standards, systems management, and above all good technology architectures but the technology architecture should be flexible. However let pragmatism prevail  - consider these issues but do not let these principles come in the way of timely delivery of business functionality based on emerging technologies. Is their dichotomy in our advice? Yes, but our jobs are full of tradeoffs.  It is only when we make the right tradeoffs, we make better decisions for the organization.

Motorola & Cisco Joining Hands (February 1999)

Feb 99 - Motorola & Cisco announced a joint venture worth one billion dollar future investment.  This is a very ambitious and worthwhile project to set up several R&D centers and IP-based architecture for wireless endusers. It is high time the vendor powers (and they are powers - we are watching Ericsson's moves also) realize that mobile computing is not just about disconnected mobile user, occasionally-connected user (through wireline) or wireless-connected user but all of the above scenarios.  The wireline world (permanent and switched) and the wireless world must come together. The editor predicted that in 1997 in his book.  Naturally, we are excited about the possibilities for the enduser organizations.

MobileInfo Advisory : Mobile computing architects, please keep this news in mind. Ask for this requirement in your RFPs from future product feature perspective.  Push more vendors to get into the fray - Ericsson too.

Do you want to see more news? News Home Page

Page updated on March 2nd,  2000

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