Sybase's mobile and embedded division unveiled its 'e-anywhere' strategy today, planning to extend its technology to address synchronisation, collection and distribution of corporate information for the mobile worker.
The updated version of the company's mobile and embedded database, SQL Studio Anywhere 6.03, will be released sometime before the end of the year, priced at $399. It will include streamlined synchronisation with direct native support to databases other than Sybase's, including Microsoft, Oracle and IBM.
This will cut out having to buy Sybase's replication server as the synchronisation capabilities will be included in SQL Studio Anywhere. There are also plans to connect with ERP systems in the future.
Brian Vink, vice president marketing for the division, said: "Our replication server is too heavyweight for the mobile environment. It's like swatting a fly with a brick as it gives near real time replication. Developers want something more lightweight in the box."
Customisable applications with application templates for a variety of vertical markets will also be included and the scope to what information can be stored locally on devices will be enhanced.
Terry Stepien, senior vice president and general manager of the division, said: "Field workers may want to be connected occasionally, traders from financial institutions continuously through wireless technology. We must have the ability to configure both extremes."
Sybase is proud of its heterogeneous nature and its ability to work with all the major handheld operating systems, including Symbian's Epoc, Microsoft's Windows CE and 3Com's Palm.
"We recognised early on that there was fragmentation with no operating system having more than 10 per cent market share," he said.
He added: "There is a perception that the likes of Microsoft try and push that homogenous is easier to use, but it is just a perception."
Sybase's confidence appears well placed. Stepien said his division is worth about $90 million - $100 million and is growing at 16 per cent per quarter.
Giga analyst Merv Adrian said: "Sybase is an early leader and of all the divisions, the mobile and embedded is executing most successfully, but Oracle and Microsoft are on their heels."
In March a Dataquest report credited Sybase's SQL Anywhere Studio with 55 per cent of market share. It estimated that the mobile connected database market was worth $52 million in 1998, and predicted an annual compound growth rate of 39 per cent through 2003.
Giga's Adrian added: "This market is volatile because it is nascent - like the PC market 10 years ago. This month's critical platform is next month's obsolete platform."
Stepien responded: "We are not looking over our shoulder. We are defining this space."
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