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Handspring strikes corporate data alliance

cf. Palm and Extended Systems

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Where Palm failed, Palm OS licensee Handspring is hoping to succeed - in the corporate mobile data arena.

The company today announced a partnership with Synchrologic to bring the latter's iMobile Suite, which essentially ties corporate databases into mobile platforms and allows enterprise IT staff to manage their mobile resources, with Handspring's Visor PDAs and upcoming Treo smartphones.

It's a plan not dissimilar to Palm's scheme to buy Extended Systems. Rather than form a broad alliance, Palm instead chose to buy its putative partner for $264 million worth of shares - only to bail out at a later date, when its own troubled finances made the deal impractical. Palm is left with the option to resell Extended's server software.

Where Synchrologic focuses on software, Extended offers hardware products too (a part of the business Palm had planned to knock on the head), so we suspect Handspring's partner has been better able to withstand the shocks that have rippled through the communications and networking hardware market over the last nine months or so.

Handspring and Synchrologic will " work together in an effort to bring mobile and wireless hardware and software solutions to corporate customers" - in short, they'll jointly promote each others' products. Synchrologic's code supports PocketPC and notebook computers as well as Palm OS-based Handsprings. Since many of the key PDA photos on Synchrologic's Web site are of old Palm Vs, we'd suggest that upgrading the site with some Visors might be a good. first step in the relationship.

That, however, might not go down too well with Palm, which entered into a similar business alliance in 1999. ®

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