Databases go mobile on phones, PDAs and handheld computers

As mobile devices such as smart phones, handheld computers and personal digital assistants proliferate, managers have found ways to fit them into the enterprise'for instance, to handle e-mail, voice messaging and limited word processing.

Now users can load up their smart phones or PDAs with mobile databases to exchange mission-critical data remotely without worrying about time or distance. Mobile databases let employees enter data on the fly. Information can be synchronized with a server database at a later time.

No matter where they are, users can download portions of large databases for examination later.
Sybase Inc.'s SQL Anywhere dominates the field, with about 68 percent of the mobile database market. IBM's DB2 Everyplace is a relational database and enterprise synchronization server that extends enterprise applications to mobile devices.

Know limitations

Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Windows CE edition and Oracle9i Lite are similar mobile databases. Products from lesser-known vendors, such as SQLBase from Gupta Technologies LLC of Redwood Shores, Calif., and HanDBase from DDH Software Inc. of Lake Worth, Fla., might serve your needs equally well.

Before you invest in a mobile database, however, be aware of memory and processor limitations of mobile host devices, and make sure the one you choose supports the operating system that controls your mobile device.

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