IBM will release its Lotus Notes Traveler for Android application sometime in the second half of 2010, but the company is not sure whether it will charge for the Android application, an IBM official told eWEEK Jan. 19.
Lotus Notes Traveler for Android will let mobile road workers synchronize and view their mail, calendar and contacts on smartphones running versions 2.0 and 2.1 of Google's Android mobile operating system. That includes such existing devices as the Android 2.0-based Motorola Droid and Google's Android 2.1-based Nexus One.
David Isenhour, strategic alliance executive for IBM Lotus, told eWEEK IBM is working to build a full-functioned client on Android to bring enterprise security and protection to those devices.
IBM has already done this for the Apple iPhone, bringing native iPhone support to the Lotus Domino 8.5.1 messaging server via Lotus Notes Traveler. However, while the Lotus data was pushed to the iPhone, it was not secure.
IBM remedied this with Lotus Notes Traveler Companion, the company's first Notes plug-in to let users view encrypted mail on the iPhone. Available now in Apple's App Store, the application requires Lotus Notes Traveler 8.5.1 software.
"Customers told us they love the capability to have Traveler push e-mail down to our iPhones, but we need to protect the data," Isenhour said.
There is currently a dearth of iPhone and Android applications that satisfy businesses' security needs. Companion and Traveler for Android could help win over enterprises reluctant to let their employees use iPhones and Android smartphones for business communications and collaboration because they fear they are not secure enough.
This isn't unlike the challenge Research In Motion faced when it got started in the enterprise market years ago, and now the Blackberry Enterprise Server is considered the top in its class. RIM would go on to reach millions of enterprise users by linking Lotus Domino to its BES platform.
Indeed, RIM and IBM are close partners in mobile collaboration, working together on the BlackBerry Client for IBM Lotus Quickr and a new version of the BlackBerry Client for IBM Lotus Connections.
Isenhour said IBM has also extended its partnership with Nokia, noting that a future version of the Lotus Sametime instant messaging client for Nokia Symbian S60 smartphones will offer presence awareness within contacts. He said IBM does this by making use of Nokia's presentation layer within its Series 60 platform. Nokia exposes an API that talks to the Sametime presence servers. Using the contacts interface on the device, users can see whether their contacts are available or busy.
Moreover, Nokia will enable Lotus Sametime Unified Telephony click-to-call capabilities in the native address book on the S60 by the end of 2010.