Conference showcases enterprise software for Palm OS

Conference showcases enterprise software for Palm OS

By Mark A. Kellner

Special to GCN

PASADENA, Calif., Sept. 7—The Demo Mobile conference yesterday previewed enterprise-level applications for devices running the handheld Palm OS from Palm Inc. of Santa Clara, Calif.

The first to arrive will be the FileMaker Mobile version of the FileMaker Pro 5 database manager from FileMaker Inc., also of Santa Clara, followed by Mobile Notes from Lotus Development Corp.

FileMaker Mobile for the Palm OS, described as an easy-to-use companion to FileMaker Pro 5, can synchronize data between a Palm device and FileMaker Pro 5 running on a PC under Microsoft Windows or on the Mac OS. The software will cost less than $100 and will be ready this winter, product manager Deborah Colton said.

Lotus senior marketing manager James Pouliopoulos said Mobile Notes for Palm will be available 'in the first half of 2001.' Lotus expects to develop versions of Mobile Notes for Windows CE and Epoc-32 handhelds after the Palm version, he said. He gave no pricing details.

Plans call for Mobile Notes to offer security via the Data Encryption Standard and other algorithms if there is sufficient demand, he said.

The Demo Mobile event largely focused this year on 'm-commerce,' or electronic buying and selling via mobile phones and handheld devices. But several hardware announcements and demonstrations had enterprise implications.

IBM Corp.'s Personal Systems Group plans to deliver what it called 'the industry's first Intel-based notebook computers with integrated wireless LAN capability' late this year. Dubbed the ThinkPad I series, the models will start at $1,149 with a built-in wireless antenna and transmitter for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers' 802.11b wireless LAN standard. The units will also work with IBM's new Bluetooth PC Cards, due in October.

Ronald P. Sperano, an IBM program director, said the first new ThinkPads would target the education market as 'inexpensive, all-in-one' devices. But he said enterprise-class ThinkPad systems will come out 'in the second half of 2001, maybe a bit sooner.'

IBM plans a Bluetooth card for the UltraPort connector that sits at the top of its ThinkPad display. Spearheaded by Intel Corp., the Bluetooth wireless chip spontaneously connects devices such as computers, keyboards, telephones and printers at a 2.5-GHz frequency over a limited distance.

In the second half of 2001, Sperano said, IBM expects to launch a miniature 802.11b device for the UltraPort slot.

In other hardware news at Demo Mobile, Inviso Corp. of Sunnyvale, Calif., showed its eShades, a sunglasses-like device that connects to a VGA-out port on a notebook or desktop computer and 'gives the visual equivalent of a 19-inch monitor at 2.5 feet' and a resolution of 800 by 600 pixels, said Steve Timmerman, the company's sales and marketing vice president.

The eShades, due later this year and expected to sell for about $600, can help stretch battery life on portables, he said, because the device's power consumption is less than half that of a notebook display. He said eShades increase privacy when working on an airplane or in a public area.


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