Wireless Servers Get in Better Sync

Good Technology and rival Research In Motion are readying wireless servers with improved sync capabilities.

Good Technology Inc. and rival Research In Motion Ltd. are each readying products that include improved synchronization capabilities, support for multiple operating systems and the ability to run on multiple networks.

The moves are a concerted effort by the wireless software providers to attract enterprise customers while maintaining existing ones.

Good this week will introduce Version 2.0 of its GoodLink enterprise messaging server. New capabilities in the server include two-way cradleless synchronization, enhanced security management, two-way wireless folder synchronization, contacts synchronization, notes synchronization and task synchronization.

Version 2.0 will work with Goods G100 device as well as devices based on PalmSource Inc.s Palm OS. Support for Microsoft Corp.s Pocket PC devices is due later this year, said Danny Shader, CEO of Good, in Sunnyvale, Calif.

The first Palm OS device that works with Version 2.0 is Handspring Inc.s Treo 600, which is due in the fall for Sprint PCS Groups Code Division Multiple Access/1xRTT network.

RIM, for its part, is also building enhanced synchronizing and security features into Version 4.0 of BES (BlackBerry Enterprise Server), which is due in the first quarter of next year.

RIM is also expanding device support for BES. By the end of the year, customers can expect to see Palm OS devices, Pocket PC devices and devices from Nokia Corp. that support Version 4.0, according to Jim Balsillie, chairman of RIM, in Waterloo, Ontario. "Theyre all deep, deep in development and on the market this fall," Balsillie said last week.

Unlike Good, however, RIM has no immediate plans to offer real-time, two-way e-mail synchronization. Rather, the company requires a user-commanded sync or 15-minute interval sync setting. And while Good has never required desktop installation, RIM will continue to.

"RIM hasnt caught up with the primary advantages of Version 1.0," Goods Shader said.

Balsillie countered that the 15-minute interval sync setting is deliberate, to keep data flow under control.

One user said he prefers the syncing features in GoodLink because it keeps his drivers up to speed.

"The real-time synchronization was the deal-maker for us," said Michael Brownell, senior network administrator at California Overnight, a package delivery company in Phoenix. The company ran RIMs BlackBerry server until last month, when it started beta testing GoodLink. "We ship 50,000 packages a night, so were as close to being a real-time business as you can be. Were always looking for ways to get information out there."

California Overnight uses Goods G100 and RIMs BlackBerry 957 devices on the server but plans to switch to Treo 600 in the fall because the device supports both voice and data. GoodLink running on the Treo will also work with his unified messaging system, Brownell said.

In related news, Goods exclusive marketing agreement with Cingular Wireless, of Atlanta, ended this month, although the company will still keep working with the carrier, as will RIM.

While Balsillie acknowledged RIMs relationship with Cingular had been rocky, he said things have been better since Cingular shuffled some executives earlier this year. As a result, RIM and Cingular are working together on a device that will run in the 850MHz Global System for Mobile Communications band, he said.