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IBM bakes Lotus Notes for Android

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IBM isn't forgetting about Google's mobile OS after squeezing Lotus Notes onto the iPhone and the BlackBerry.

Big Blue has said that an Android-based app for Lotus Notes is now in the works. Deadline: before Microsoft makes its own Android-based app for Exchange.

Lotus Notes Traveler Companion, IBM's first application for the iPhone App Store, was announced on Monday at Lotusphere 2010 in Orlando, Florida. Companion is a free plug-in that lets iPhone users read their encrypted Lotus Notes email on the Jobsonian cult communicator.

IBM already offers support for Research In Motion (RIM) BlackBerry phones, so the odd-mobile-OS-out is Android-based devices. IBM plans to remedy this soon, beginning with a client for Google's Nexus One.

"We've been looking at our options here — a quick-fix approach to using the installed software on some of the Android-based devices, or a more serious commitment to building a full client," said Ed Brill, IBM chief of product management for Lotus software, on his blog.

Brill said IBM chose the latter approach, but the open source nature of Android makes creating the app a bit more difficult.

"The different providers can and will create their own distributions and installed software," Brill said. "As such, we're doing the engineering to do this right — and ahead of Microsoft, by the way."

IBM also announced plans to include support for the Notes Traveler server software on Linux in 2010.

Mobile access is turning out to be a major plot at this year's Lotusphere. Yesterday, IBM provided a peek into the future of Notes with something it calls Project Vulcan. It blends email, profiles, IM, and calendars in one place — not unlike Google Wave — but the company says it will also apply business and social analytics to specific business scenarios in an effort to make the collaboration software "more relevant" the companies who use it. ®

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