Sybase has revealed plans to integrate its UltraLite database for PDAs to rival vendors' back-end databases.
The company expects to begin working with Microsoft SQL Server 6/5 and the newly-released SQL Server 7, Oracle8 and IBM DB2 databases in the second quarter of next year.
"The problem we have had is that most people have already made their database decision and it's very difficult to change that decision. The reality is that I have very little chance of influencing what back-end database somebody is using by my palm support," said David Yach, vice president and chief architect of Sybase's mobile and embedded computing division.
If the UltraLite supported only a Sybase database, the company would be shutting itself out of 85% of the market, he pointed out.
Similarly, Sybase wants to keep its options open when it comes to operating systems. "This is a fragmented market and it is not yet clear who the winners and losers will be," he said.
"One of the design principles of the UltraLite is to be able to port to any operating system and back end," Yach explained.
UltraLite is in beta, in both CE and PalmPilot versions, and will be released in the first quarter of next year. Both betas were being demonstrated at the Comdex show last week.
There are plans for the support of other operating systems, both for PDAs and for the embedded market. Sybase estimates there are 70 different operating systems vendors in this market, none with more than 10% market share.
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Microsoft plans CE SQL Server database
Microsoft has revealed to PC Week plans for a SQL Server database for CE devices, but has refused to commit to a date.
Jupiter (the next version of CE) machines will ship with a cutdown version of Access, called Pocket Access. That will allow replication to SQL Server 7.
Microsoft lacks a competitor to the Sybase SQL Anywhere product for PDAs, which is commonly regarded as the market leader. Sybase announced earlier this month support for the Symbian alliance, which surrounds Psion, a direct competitor to CE.
Oracle has also announced its intention to provide Oracle Lite and IBM is know to be planning a version for DB2 (see PC Week, 27 October).
"We are definitely testing, but I am not saying anything about release," said Paul Flessner, general manager for SQL Server development at Microsoft.
"I just know that if I got pushed a little harder, I could do something pretty quickly, if I needed to. So I'm poised to move on it."
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