As part of a new enterprise push, Nokia Corp. is readying its first appliance that provides handheld device users secure access to their corporate data.
The Nokia Access Mobilizer, or NAM, which is due this week from the companys new Enterprise Solutions division, sits between a corporate firewall and associated application servers. When a handheld user connects to the Web wirelessly, the NAM reformats the content to adhere to the limitations of the device, officials said.
Because no client software is needed, installation time is reduced, and because all the data remains on the server, the devices memory isnt sapped, they said.
The NAM supports e-mail attachments, including Microsoft Corp.s Word documents, Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint slides.
The idea of a wireless middleware appliance is not new. Two years ago, the industry was inundated with startups trying to succeed in the wireless access space. While many of those companies failed, several stalwarts, such as Research In Motion Ltd., IBM, Good Technology Inc. and Extended Systems Inc., pressed on.
Microsoft, too, has started to embed wireless capabilities into its server software.
"Were hoping the capabilities of [Microsofts former wireless middleware product] Mobile Information Server, which is built into Exchange 2003, will do that," said Kevin Baradet, network systems director at the S.C. Johnson School of Management at Cornell University, in Ithaca, N.Y., and an eWEEK Corporate Partner. Baradet said, however, that the problem Nokia is solving is real—having fielded his share of complaints from students having trouble accessing the schools WLAN (wireless LAN) from the small screens on their PDAs.
Nokia officials said they expect their latest efforts to succeed because of the reputation of the Espoo, Finland, companys handsets.
The NAM is available for order now for $16,000, with licenses averaging $50 per user, per year, officials said.
The appliance will run on any wireless network—wide-area or local, public or private—and can support any device with a browser. The goal is to encourage further adoption of Nokia devices in the enterprise.
Nokia Enterprise Solutions in the next few months will introduce several devices aimed at enterprise customers, with new keyboards and new wireless connectivity options such as support for 802.11 WLAN networks.