Were you listening carefully, you might have heard the collective cheer this Valentine’s Day, as mobile workers rejoiced to the news of Skype’s newest offering. Traveling professionals who use Skype’s free “softphone” voice over IP service to speak to colleagues and clients through their computers (current user numbers have surpassed 75 million) will soon no longer need their PCs to connect. Skype has announced that, through global partnerships with mobile operators and device makers, it will offer a version of its software for use over mobile devices. (This move also has mobile operators applauding, of course, as it provides them with a new hook for attracting customers and promoting new subscription plans.)
Skype also announced it is releasing Skype for Pocket PC 2.0, which will make the Skype service available on any Windows Mobile Pocket PC wireless device. This includes several HP iPAQ, Dell and Fujitsu Siemens models. Skype for Pocket PC 2.0 will also come preloaded on devices such as the Asus MyPal A636, the BenQ P50 and the i-mate PDA2. Motorola and Plantronics, among other mobile accessory providers, plan to get in on this action with Skype-certified companion products.
Nokia, the world’s largest handset provider, also had some news that should make enterprise managers perk their ears (if not loosen their grips on their wallets). On Monday it unveiled its new N6136 handset (catchy, yes?), a UMA device with Wi-Fi capabilities—which means users have the money-saving option of using VoIP when the phone detects a wireless Internet signal. The slick Nokia Communicator also has this capability, but the high-end device’s price point puts it out of the running for many users, whereas the 6136 has more mass-market aspirations.
Increasing its appeal further still, the quad-band 6136 can connect to GSM networks at 850, 900, 1800 and 1900 MHz, making it ideal for puddle-jumpers in both the United States and Europe.
And lastly, EMCC Software Limited, a software services company with a focus on the Symbian OS, announced it was partnering with Oracle and IBM to develop enterprise applications for Oracle and IBM user communities. The first of the group’s on-going developments for push e-mail, data backup and salesforce automation will be released this May.
“The growing demand for business applications such as e-mail and salesforce automation on smartphones is an important signal that both corporate and government sectors recognize the benefits of true mobility,” said EMCC CEO, Leigh Edwards, in a company release.
EMCC’s mobile solutions for smartphones currently include RoadSync, a push e-mail solution for Exchange 2004; Documents to Go, a Microsoft Office reader and editor; and Backup ME, an over-the-air data backup and restore solution.
And speaking of push e-mail, the first open-source push e-mail solution, Funambol v3, was announced in Barcelona on Tuesday by the California-based open-source software company of the same name. Funambol hopes its open-source offering will help put mobile e-mail on nearly every mobile device.
To learn more about what went down in Barcelona, be sure to catch Editor-in-Chief Eric M. Zeman’s “Syncing Up” column in the March 2006 issue of Mobile Enterprise.