IBM has launched software that enables users to read, query and update enterprise data from mobile devices such as Palm handheld computers.
Superior Wireless Applications, or Swap software, enables mobile users to monitor web traffic, query real-time sales database information and make changes to product descriptions and pricing. Swap runs on IBM's AIX operating system and can be downloaded on to the p640, Big Blue's latest server aimed at the wireless sector.
Separately, Palm has struck a three-year deal with IBM to sell its handheld devices to enterprises. IBM Global Services will create a consulting and systems integration unit focused on developing business applications for Palm OS devices and marketing handhelds.
Swap software is based on IBM's existing System Networking, Analysis and Performance Pilot, which lets IT managers monitor and configure servers. Swap also supports encryption, offers user ID and password protection, and allows companies to limit access to a specific number of devices.
Judith Hurwitz, president of consultancy at the Hurwitz Group, said: "What IBM is doing is taking its intellectual property - its middleware - and customising it for this space."
Swap follows the unveiling of IBM's latest wireless push on Monday, which featured new mobile products and services. Among the announcements was the introduction of a version of its WebSphere middleware that enables mobile content providers to transcode enterprise applications for wireless devices.
According to Palm, 40 per cent of its devices are bought by business people, and 80 per cent of all its customers synchronise their devices at their places of work. However, only half of the company's 100,000-strong developer community writes business applications.
IBM plans to encourage developers to write more Palm-supported business software using its newly launched WebSphere Everyplace Suite development platform and middleware. IBM has also ensured that its other software products support Palm. These include DB2 Everywhere database, MQ Series of products, VisualAge Micro Edition Java technology and Tivoli Device Manager.
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