Wireless Carriers Expand Their BlackBerry Services

Cingular's Xpress GoodLink Edition competes with RIM's wireless servers by giving BlackBerry users wireless access to Outlook data, including attachments.

Businesses looking for a little more out of their BlackBerry handhelds have new services to choose from, including both hosted and behind-the-firewall offerings that provide more advanced capabilities and easy implementation.

Cingular Wireless last week expanded its e-mail access portfolio with Cingular Xpress GoodLink Edition, designed to work with Microsoft Corp.s Exchange server. The service provides wireless access to data included in Microsoft Outlook e-mail, attachments, calendar and to-do lists.

Available next month, it will run over the Mobitex data network using BlackBerry handheld devices, said officials at Cingular, in Atlanta.

Cingulars Xpress GoodLink is based on GoodLink software from Good Technology Inc., a Sunnyvale, Calif., startup that competes with Research In Motion Ltd.s wireless servers.

At least one customer who has tried both platforms prefers Goods over RIMs.

"I dont have people complaining the way they do with BlackBerry," said Rebekah Westlake, e-mail administrator at Silicon Valley Bank, in Santa Clara, Calif., which plans to migrate from the RIM server to the Good server.

To date, GoodLink supports only Exchange, while RIM BlackBerry Enterprise Server supports Exchange and Lotus Development Corp.s Notes platform.

What Good provides out of the box that RIM doesnt, however, is the ability to view e-mail attachments and the ability to browse and read e-mail within subfolders. GoodLink also offers two-way push synchronization, which automatically deletes messages on the server.

In addition, no cradle and no desktop software are required. "Installation took me less than 5 minutes," Westlake said. For that reason, she didnt see the need to go through a carrier to get the server and service. "I personally would have no reason to need Cingular to support it," she said.

Another new wireless e-mail option from Cingular will be Cingular Xpress Mail Network Edition, a carrier-hosted offering that connects individual desktops to mobile phones. Developed by Seven Technologies Inc., the service requires no additional hardware or software on the server, making it less expensive but also giving IT managers less control. Users appear split between behind-the-firewall installations and carrier-hosted offerings.

"Its a broader, different market," said Bill Nguyen, founder of Seven, in Atlanta. "Well see whos right."

Good charges $3,000 for the server, plus $50 per seat with an 18 percent annual support contract. Monthly GoodLink service is $44.99. Both Good and Seven plan eventually to support devices that run the Palm and Pocket PC operating systems, officials said.

Good plans to release its wireless e-mail device, the G100, this summer.

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