Mobile E-Mail Made Easy

Sony licensing ActiveSync protocol from Microsoft.

E-mail delivered to mobile phones is about to get easier to use in the enterprise, both on the proprietary and open-source fronts.

On Feb. 6, Microsoft announced that Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications has licensed its Exchange ActiveSync protocol to enable more secure, wireless direct synchronization between Exchange Server 2003 and its phones. The first implementation will be on the new Sony Ericsson P990 and M600 phones, which will be available in the second quarter.

Exchange ActiveSync is a data synchronization service that lets mobile users gain access to their e-mail, calendar and contacts and retain access to this information while offline. This latest deal follows similar Exchange ActiveSync license agreements between Microsoft and DataViz, Motorola, Nokia, Palm and Symbian.

Also, on the open-source front, Funambol, a mobile open-source software company in Redwood City, Calif., announced the release of Funambol v3 on Feb. 6, which company officials said is the "first open-source push e-mail product for carriers and enterprises."

Funambols push e-mail capabilities include send, receive and forward functions and allow users to open attachments and check e-mail on- and offline. The server supports Research In Motions BlackBerry, Microsofts Windows Mobile, SyncML-compliant phones and any WAP (Wireless Application Protocol)-enabled phone.

In Microsofts case, those organizations that have deployed Exchange Server 2003 Service Pack 2 will benefit from additional mobile enhancements, such as Direct Push, which provides instant access to newly received e-mail messages, said Jeff Ressler, Microsofts director of product management and planning for Exchange Server, in Redmond, Wash.

For Microsoft, the deal with Sony Ericsson continues its "ongoing commitment to expanding our IP licensing efforts, making it easier for others to license the companys growing IP portfolio based on its significant R&D efforts," Ressler said.

The deal will provide mobile workers with access to their Exchange Server 2003 information, including e-mail, calendar and contacts, wherever they are.

"Mobile workers are increasingly looking for ways to stay connected on the move. The combination of our recently announced P990 and M600 phones together with the Exchange ActiveSync protocol, allows customers to easily manage their Exchange e-mail, calendar and contacts on the move," said Brendan Press, head of enterprise marketing at Sony Ericsson, in London.

"Organizations today require a more secure wireless solution for their mobile workers that is easy to manage and supported by a variety of devices. By licensing Exchange ActiveSync, Sony Ericsson is now able to deliver a comprehensive mobile messaging solution to these customers," Ressler said.

"Open-source software and standards will accelerate mobile e-mail deployments, increase revenue opportunities for carriers and give enterprises more flexibility. We believe that mobile e-mail will quickly become a commodity, so open source is the natural approach to this marketplace," said Fabrizio Capobianco, CEO of Funambol.

Funambol customers such as Ray Espinosa, president of ePLDT, a wholly owned subsidiary of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co., the Philippines largest carrier, in Manila, welcomed the latest release.

"Funambol v3 will allow us to better meet the needs of all our customers with branded personal information management and push e-mail services around Sync123, the leading mobile personal information management service in Asia," Espinosa said.