IBM has extended support for its flagship Lotus Notes collaboration software to the Apple iPhone and announced upgrades to Notes for Symbian and Windows Mobile mobile devices.
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With support for Research in Motion's BlackBerry phones, Notes now supports enterprise-class applications on most popular mobile devices.
IBM also said yesterday it would give away its Domino Designer software tools for free to encourage software developers to write mobile applications for smartphones and other mobile devices.
IBM said it would also simplify the way it licenses Lotus Domino client software. Users would now be licensed for functional needs rather than client types, with two simple access licences replacing 11 software products.
IBM also offered hosting services for Lotus Notes Traveler through its Mobile Enterprise Services.
IBM said two billion people would become mobile web users in the next decade, changing the way most people access the internet.
It said business users would be able to access corporate applications and processes using Lotus Notes and Domino applications on mobile and Web-connected devices such as the Apple iPhone, Nokia smartphones, thin clients, laptops and desktops.
Lotus Domino 8.5.1 was the first version to support the iPhone via Lotus Notes Traveler software. This extended automatic synching for e-mail, contacts and calendar data to the iPhone. This would help to address growing user demand to access Notes and Domino applications on the road, IBM said.
The new features include push e-mail, contacts, and calendar. They let iPhone users work off-line, and allowed confidential data to be erased remotely if an iPhone was lost or stolen.
iPhone users could also use a corporate directory look-up feature which helped them find contact information behind their company firewall.
IBM also updated Notes for Symbian and Windows Mobile phones to include remote wipe, device lock, password management and external calendar integration.
The move will make available millions of existing Lotus Domino applications to mobile users, said IBM's vice president of messaging and collaboration, Kevin Cavanaugh.
Several hundred organisations have tested the new version of Lotus Notes during the past few months, he said.
"Prudential UK beta-tested this new Lotus Notes and Traveler software; it was quick and easy to download and use on the iPhone," said Neil Davis, messaging specialist at the Pru, a life insurance and pensions provider.
The new Lotus Notes allowed the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services speed up its response to the H1N1 influenza scare, said its software architect Tim Lorge. "Having all of our collaboration tools integrated into one application enabled our teams to work more effectively and cohesively," he said.
Pioneer Petroleums, Ontario's largest independent gasoline retailer, was planning to roll out the new Notes to improve communications among corporate and retail personnel, said its IT director, Dale Sinstead.