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IBM deal boosts Symbian devices in corporate networks

And the deal's rather like one Psion prepared earlier...

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IBM and Symbian have signed a joint development agreement to build wireless network applications for Symbian devices. The gist of the deal is that it's intended to allow smartphones and communicators produced by Symbian licensees mobile access to the Web and corporate network data, but there seems to be quite a bit of overlap with previously announced deals. Basically, the Symbian buddies seem to be severely interested in deals within deals. This particular one is similar to a Psion-IBM alliance announced last year. This was intended to allow business users to combine Psion's netBook with IBM network services. As the netBook itself is a Symbian EPOC device, albeit a bigger one than the phone companies are likely to have in mind, it's sensible to extend the arrangement via Symbian, in order to allow devices built by other licensees, including Ericsson, Nokia, Matsushita, Motorola and Philips, to be used in similar situations. Most of these are expected to be rolling out convincing-looking Symbian devices fairly soon now, and Symbian itself is demonstrating some gosh-wow gear at its developer conference in Santa Clara this week. Provided of course the customer has a network running IBM Pervasive Computing's MQSeries Everywhere, DB2 Everywhere (a scary thought) and Mobile Connect. But you could tag this as the IBM-Symbian counterblast to the Microsoft based corporate systems that Microsoft and British Telecom are currently piloting. IBM and Symbian intend to add embedded extensions to IBM's messaging and database middleware to EPOC, allowing developers to produce wireless network applications for the platform. Curiously, IBM seems to be guilty of some curiously old thinking when it comes to objectives. According to pervasive computing division general manager Mark Bregman "we will partner with the development community to create wireless applications that allow business users of Symbian devices to be as productive off-line as when they are connected to the network." Off-line, Mark? This is dull stuff. Shouldn't you be figuring out ways where you can use a continuous SMS connection to keep them online, and anticipating the days when wireless devices have a constant data connection? Talk to Nokia about this, we think you're allied to them as well. It's possibly also worth noting that IBM, Symbian and a gaggle of Symbian partners are also buddied-up in the Vodafone blockbuster wireless Web announcements made earlier this year. But although there's again some overlap, Vodafone also has Sun and its i-Planet software in there. ®

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