RIM, Seven Gain Support

New partnerships will give enterprise users more options for managing data on mobile devices.

New partnerships will give enterprise users more options for managing data on mobile devices.

With last weeks announcement that Sprint Corp. will support Research In Motion Ltd.s BlackBerry Enterprise Solution on the Sprint PCS wireless network, RIM has now garnered the support of all major U.S. carriers, and the number of BlackBerry subscribers now tops 2 million, said RIM officials, last week, in Waterloo, Ontario.

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But RIMs competitors continue to ramp up their offerings. Seven Networks Inc. announced last week availability of its mobile business e-mail services to wireless carriers, handset makers and users worldwide via Qualcomm Inc.s BREW (Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless) platform. The news follows Sevens announcement late last month that it will integrate its mobile e-mail client with J2ME (Java 2 Platform, Micro Edition)-enabled handsets. This will give enterprises more flexibility in choosing devices and help lower TCO (total cost of ownership), said Trevor Fiatal, co-founder and chief security officer of Seven Networks, in Redwood City, Calif.

Analysts say the flexibility in choice and the TCO are among the main concerns for enterprise users. "One of the top factors in the enterprise adoption is total cost of ownership, and what this announcement means is that companies will be able to offer employees lower-end devices that can access mobile e-mail and mobile office applications and PIM [personal information manager]," said Brent Iadarola, an analyst at Frost & Sullivan Inc., in San Antonio. "The other issue companies are asking for is flexibility to support mobile devices, and with the ability to support BREW, Seven can now expand its offering to larger segments."

Waukesha Bearings Corp., a bearings manufacturer in Pewaukee, Wis., uses Sevens mobile e-mail service for its employees using converged mobile devices. "Most carriers are starting to offer some variation of BREW or J2ME on their phones, which is only interesting now if you want do bowling or play a round of golf on your phone; its really exciting to see that there might be some real useful applications," said Eric Helmuth, IT manager for Waukesha Bearings.

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