SugarCRM in Jobsian Flash rewrite
HTML5 for the iPad
SugarCRM is going mobile in a big way. The company has purchased iEnterprises's iExtensions CRM – a tool that provides access to Lotus Notes contacts on smartphones and tablets – and it has announced new versions of its own software for Android, BlackBerry, and iPad.
Financial terms of the iExtensions deal were not revealed, but SugarCRM's Larry Augustine told The Reg that the acquisition helps SugarCRM expand in a "specific functional" area. Sugar is also getting iEnterprsies CEO John Carini, who will take over as vice president of collaboration products.
Other products also provide offline sync between SugarCRM and mobile, such as the open-source RhoLogic Mobile. But iExtensions is built for Notes and Domino.
With the latest mobile versions of its own software – introduced on Tuesday at SugarCon in San Francisco – SugarCRM has rewritten the SugarCRM 6 reporting and charting engine in HTML5, abandoning Adobe Flash. The company says that this provides a better level of interaction and that the charts are more eye-catching than they were with Flash. But, yes, Apple provided the motivation. "If Flash and run on the iPhone or the iPad, we probably wouldn't have come to this," Augustin told us, referring to the Jobsian edict that Flash is forbidden on Apple phones and tablets.
A year ago, SugarCRM wrote its iPhone and iPad edition with Appcelerator's Titanium platform, and just as the product was delivered, Apple's chief executive made it known code translators like Titanium were not welcome on the iPhone or iPad. SugarCRM chief technology officer and co-founder Clint Oram told us at the time he wasn't terribly thrilled by the turn in events. He wasn't alone. But several months later, Titanium was cleared for use.
Nonetheless, SugarCRM is glad to be on the iPad. Augustin is dismissive of recent statements from Dell and Hewlett-Packard that - rather predictably - argued that the iPad isn't for serious business users. According to Augustin, the iPad 2 is going to be a huge business tool for what he calls mobile business professionals, because the form factor makes the screen readable. He cites recent experience, moving among the IBM faithful during January's annual Lotusphere.
"We were at IBM's Losusphere in January - 8,000 people," Augustin said. "I was amazed at the number of iPads. This was LotusSphere, an older, more enterprise-focused event. This was in Orlando, not Silicon Valley, and we are not talking about social media start up kids. iPads were everywhere."
The iPad is still leading the market while the hardware underpinning Android has not yet fully baked. As for webOS, which runs HP's forthcoming PlayBook, SugarCRM is not yet offering support. "Android devices are very interesting," he said. "When the hardware has caught up to the iPad 2's hardware, it will give Apple a run for its money."
SugarCRM has also announced that its business apps have become more rounded through integration with a number of online tools.
SugarCRM 6 is integrated web meeting tools Cisco WebEx and Citrix Online while SugarCRM users can upload, manage ,and share Google Docs inside the suite. Sugar for IBM LotusLive, the hosted multi-tenant version of IBM's Domino, is also available. Sugar for LotusLive lets you upload, share, and collaborate on documents held on a multi-tenant version of Domino Server hosted by IBM. ®