IBM's Lotus collaboration software continues to find purchase on mobile devices, as IBM announced sdeals with network operators Verizon and Orange and phone maker Samsung Jan. 21 to support Lotus Notes Traveler software on their mobile phones.
Lotus Notes Traveler is the mobile device counterpart to IBM's Lotus Notes desktop e-mail software. Traveler is an alternative to mobile collaboration products from Microsoft, Google and others, replicating e-mail, calendar, contacts and more to mobile devices from the IBM Lotus Domino Web Access e-mail server.
With the new certifications, Traveler will be exposed to 85 million users on the Verizon network, 113 million users on Orange's network and millions of users of Samsung phones, Kevin Cavanaugh, vice president of messaging and collaboration for IBM, told eWEEK in a briefing at Lotusphere on Jan. 20.
The certifications mean Verizon, Orange and Samsung are qualified to sell Traveler in an official capacity. "You can just go into a Verizon or Orange store and say you want a phone that supports Notes," Cavanaugh explained.
Lotus Notes Traveler previously only ran on Windows Mobile-based smartphones from AT&T and Sprint, Research In Motion's BlackBerry smartphones, and gadgets based on Nokia's S60 smartphone platform.
Later in 2009, Lotus Notes Traveler will also support Microsoft's ActiveSync, which would enable users to access their e-mail and calendaring content on the Apple iPhone and other devices that support Microsoft's mobile synchronization application.
For example, iPhone users would be able to instantly access e-mail from their Notes Traveler accounts without doing manual connections, Cavanaugh explained.
Ideally, from IBM's point of view, these moves could expand the normally enterprise-centric Notes footprint to the broader consumer market, where the iPhone is the reigning smartphone.
Cavanaugh also told eWEEK that IBM has considered supporting Google's Android mobile operating system, but IBM has no specific plans to discuss at this point because his team hasn't seen a lot of customer demand for the operating system, widely regarded as a consumer-focused platform.
"In our base, the majority of people serious with mobile mail are using RIM," Cavanaugh said. "Windows Mobile, Nokia and iPhone are gaining some traction. We'll go where the traction is."
Cavanaugh also said IBM is speeding toward the launch of Lotus Sametime 8.5, the company's latest instant messaging and Web conferencing software. Sametime is the hub for IBM's unified communications and collaboration strategy, an effort the company vowed to pump $1 billion into in March 2008.
Messaging and collaboration software such as Lotus Sametime is designed to help customers cut travel costs, enabling users to conduct meetings where they can see and hear each other through computers and TV screens instead of meeting in person.
Lotus Sametime 8.5 features reservationless meetings, enabling users to start a Web conference with a single click. Users will be able to add meeting members by dragging and dropping names from their IM list, and store meeting minutes, slides and other content. Sametime 8.5 is expected to ship in the second half of 2009.