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Sproqit finally cranks out workgroup system

Architecture gets Unisys, Ingram Micro thumbs-up

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Sproqit will next month ship the delayed Workgroup version of its mobile PC-to-PDA data-access system, the company said today.

Originally scheduled to ship in December 2004, Sproqit Workgroup Edition (SWE) provides SMEs with wireless access not only to email and PIM data stored on local PCs and servers, but almost any kind of information.

SWE builds on Sproqit Personal Edition, which began shipping late last year. SPE's server component - Sproqit Agent - runs on a single PC to provide real-time remote access to data and applications across the Internet and any wireless network, such as GPRS links. The system supports Palm and Windows Mobile devices which run a compact client app, Sproqit Companion, that displays a representation of the applications running on the host PC and sends back commands derived from the user's interaction with the mobile UI.

Files and data stay behind the firewall - it does not use the 'store and forward' approach used by many other mobile data solutions. Neither is data sent to the handheld - the Companion software remotely manipulates the data on the host PC and network services connected to it. New functionality, such as support for further applications, is added solely at the Agent end, so IT departments don't need to recall and update mobile devices.

SWE broadens SPE to multiple systems and mobile devices, with up to 50 users supported by a single Workgroup Agent - the local workgroup server - install. The system uses 128-bit encryption to protect the low-bandwidth wireless connections, and certificate-based multi-stage authentication to ensure connected parties are who they claim to be.

The software will ship in August, with prices starting at €849/$999 for a five-user licence. No subscription is required - it's a one-off payment, Sproqit's European Market Development chief, Kevin Green, told The Register. Green confirmed that the product will be made available in Europe through distributor Ingram Micro, which let slip news of the deal earlier this month.

Green revealed that Unisys will use the technology to power mobile versions of business applications the services company develops for its own clients.

A larger-scale, corporate-oriented release, Sproqit Enterprise Edition, is due to be released later this year, a little later than the Spring 2005 originally envisaged. Green said that release would support IBM Domino as well as Microsoft Exchange. Almost all mobile push data solutions focus on the Microsoft product, although Good Technology has said it will add Domino support some time during H1 2006.

Support for Windows Mobile-based smart phones, along with Symbian-based devices, is also in the pipeline. ®

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