Mobility specialist Synchronica has released an enterprise version of its Mobile Gateway middleware product, aimed at providing businesses with a cost-effective way to mobilise email onto almost any available phone handset.
Mobile Gateway 4.0, which launched in February, is Synchronica's mobile push email platform aimed at network carriers. However, the firm has decided to release a behind-the-firewall Mobile Gateway Enterprise Edition in response to demand from businesses.
"We started getting a lot of requests from firms in areas where there wasn't any carrier offering Mobile Gateway that wanted the ability to connect smartphones and feature phones to their corporate email accounts," said Synchronica chief executive Carsten Brinkschulte.
Mobile Gateway Enterprise Edition is essentially a shrink-wrapped version of Mobile Gateway 4.0 that can be downloaded and installed onto a Windows server (WS2003 and above) on a customer's network, and will operate over any mobile carrier used by the company.
The software links with corporate mail systems using Microsoft Exchange, Lotus Domino and Sun Java Communications Suite, as well as supporting Imap and POP3.
But the chief advantage is that it supports over 1,400 handsets, according to Brinkschulte, including feature phones based on platforms such as Nokia's Series 40.
"Enterprises might have BlackBerry, but there are still a large number of employees that don't have a smartphone, and many businesses can't afford Blac kBerry infrastructure," said Brinkschulte.
However, he was keen to stress that Syncronica is not trying to compete with the BlackBerry, but should be seen as complementary.
"While most smartphones can connect directly to corporate mail servers, feature phones, which most employees still carry, need a middleware platform like ours. We are 'BlackBerry lite' if you like," he explained.
Synchronica can support such a huge range of handsets because Mobile Gateway does not need a software client to be deployed, but instead makes use of each phone's built-in email, calendar and contact functions. An online Compatibility Checker allows customers to see whether their handsets are supported.
Users can get connected via a self-service web or WAP page where they key in their email address, password and phone number, whereupon the Mobile Gateway server sends an OMA Client Provisioning message to the handset that configures it to receive SyncML updates.
Mobile Gateway Enterprise Edition is available immediately at €88 (£75) per user for up to five users, and €21 (£18) per user for up to 1,000 users. These are perpetual licences, but Synchronica charges an annual maintenance fee. A 30-day free trial is also available.
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