Major players work together to synchronise desktop and mobile data

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Major players work together to synchronise desktop and mobile data

Caroline Davis
Industry giants have joined up to produce a standard for synchronising data between mobile devices and desktop PCs, writes Caroline Davis.

IBM, Lotus, Motorola, Nokia, Palm and Psion have founded the www.syncml.org initiative, which will produce an XML-based data synchronisation protocol that can be used across multiple networks, platforms and devices.

Users will be able to synchronise data from their mobile phones with their PC's e-mail address book and update calendar information from laptops to PDAs.

The standard will allow developers to create synchronisation products between devices regardless of manufacturer, operating system and whether or not they are wireless. Currently, manufacturers such as Palm and Psion require proprietary synchronisation servers for transferring data from mobile devices.

Tim Sheedy, Senior Mobile Analyst at IDC said, "SyncML will help to drive the growth of mobile devices. They will be a lot more usable if you can synchronise data no matter what application or what operating system is being used."

Notable exceptions to the list of SyncML members are Microsoft and Ericsson. They announced their "any time, anywhere, on any device" partnership last December, but Sheedy predicts that they will be forced to join in the SyncML venture.

SyncML Goals

The founding members have committed themselves to developing an industry-wide standard which will:

  • Be baesd on existing standards for structured data representation
  • Operate over wireless and wireline networks
  • Support a variety of transport protocols
  • Connect mobile devices regardless of platform or manufacturer
  • Support arbitrary networked data
  • Privide data access from a variety of appications
  • Use existing Internet and Web standards and technologies
  • Provide easily accessible code for enabling support for the specification

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