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By Carmen Nobel  |  Posted 2002-09-16 Print this article Print

: Onsets MetaMessage"> Onset, of Santa Cruz, Calif., last week introduced a version of its MetaMessage remote access application that adds new printing capabilities and one-touch Web access for RIMs BlackBerry handheld devices.

MetaMessage 4.0 lets users go to a specific Web page or do a Google search without actually launching a browser. It also adds network printing capabilities to the fax printing capabilities that previous versions of the software supported, officials said.

In addition, the software includes better support for viewing attachments than previous versions, including the ability to view tiny replicas of Microsoft Corp. Excel documents. Rich-text-format files such as Microsoft Word and PowerPoint presentations appear similar to their original formats, with bold characters and bullet structure intact.

Onset has provided the ability to view e-mail attachments on the BlackBerry since last year. The software sits on a separate server from the RIM BlackBerry server, though, which means additional costs.

MetaMessage, which works in conjunction with, rather than instead of, the BlackBerry server, costs $3,000 for a 20-user license and $50 for each additional user. When RIM introduces new capabilities for its products, the software always runs on top of the BlackBerry server. The MetaMessage process also takes multiple steps—forwarding the e-mail message to the MetaMessage server and then waiting for a response that consists of the message with an opened attachment.

Onsets customers say its worth it to pay for the third-party applications and additional server, however, as RIM will not offer the ability to view attachments with its own server software until the end of the year.

"RIM only will transmit the message; it does not handle attachments yet, and a lot of our attorneys deal with documents," said Eva Steiner, director of IT at Dewey Ballantine LLP, a New York-based law firm that uses about 250 BlackBerry devices worldwide.

"The ability to open the documents and read them on the BlackBerry and also direct them to the fax machine and get a hard copy was very important," Steiner said. "From the first couple of weeks [of using the BlackBerry devices], the attorneys clamored for it. Even when RIM comes out with this, it will be in its infancy stages."

It can be a financial headache, though, to pay several licensing fees when setting up a wireless system that involves both a carrier and an application provider. To that end, Motient Corp., of Reston, Va., last week launched a plan in which its customers can pay for wireless access server software from Wireless Knowledge Inc. through a long-term service plan.

Related stories:
  • BlackBerry Gains Web, Printing Enhancements
  • BlackBerry Supports E-Mail Attachments
  • RIM Offers More Flavors of BlackBerry
  • Review: BlackBerry 5810 Heeds Call for Fewer Gadgets


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