Action Engine to Support Palm OS

Action Engine provides technology that lends more control and flexibility to smart devices.

CANNES, France—Action Engine LLP, a joint venture formed this week between Action Engine Corp. and DAT Group, provides technology that lends more control and flexibility to smart devices. Thursday, the group said that Handspring Inc. will integrate Action Engines technology into future Treo devices.

Action Engines Device Management Platform, a series of client-server products, facilitates configuration, application selection, and personalization of mobile handsets. For an enterprise IT department, the platform permits greater control over the fleet of mobile phones used by the workforce.

"You have some enterprises where the PCs are completely black boxes," said Christiano Pierry, chief product officer at Action Engine. "Now were extending that capability to the phones."

With Action Engines back-up server, an IT department can provide over-the-air configuration, such as scheduling regular back-ups of the phones data, including documents, contacts and calendar information. If a phone is lost, it can be replaced with its latest data, e-mail settings and Internet settings in tact.

"We know that users dont back up data on their own," Pierry said. "But theyre going to end up losing their phones a few times a year."

With Action Engines application server, an IT department can provide a customized applications catalog to employees. The catalog, which might include CRM software or human resources software, can be downloaded to the phone, allowing users to search and select the applications they need.

The device management capabilities are available today on Microsoft Smartphone, Microsoft Pocket PCs, and Nokias Series 60 devices. The key to the technology is making the most of the processing power residing in the phone itself, Pierry said. "In many ways, what out technology does is maximize the phones processing power."

The technology is aimed primarily at service providers that can offer the configuration, personalization and application capabilities to their customers, but Action Engine also sells it directly to enterprises and boasts Intel as its first enterprise customer. In Europe, Action Engine has sold the Device Management Platform to two major carriers, and it will soon announce a third European carrier customer, which also provides service in the United States, Pierry said.

The Redmond, Wash., software maker is remaining agnostic in the wireless operating system debate, supporting Microsoft Corp., Symbian Ltd., and now Palm Inc. platforms.

"We recognize that this space in the next five years is going to be very diverse," Pierry said. "What were saying to the enterprise is that you dont need to make a choice."

Action Engine does not yet offer a Device Management Platform that would work with Linux-based handsets presaged by Motorola Inc. this week, but it could build the technology in approximately three months if requested by a service provider, Pierry said.