Air2Web creates offline component for wireless access

Air2Web has announced a client component for its Mobile Internet Platform that will allow mobile workers to work locally when...

Air2Web has announced a client component for its Mobile Internet Platform that will allow mobile workers to work locally when devices are not connected to the network.

Version 5 of the Air2Web Mobile Internet Platform (MIP) will now provide the offline component for mobile applications. MIP will also include support for Java and x-HTML applications in addition to its own A2WML development environment.

The client platform is a blend between working wirelessly while connected to the network and an offline application that synchronises with the network when online.

Kathy Jaques, vice-president of Air2Web said: "This is a hybrid of real-time data delivered to an application framework, rather than having the whole application sitting on the device. The client component uses data accessed in real time or ahead of time to create a just-in-time application. That's a new concept."

Using an application framework or template rather than the entire application will also allow companies to deploy many more applications on smaller devices, added Jaques.

With a wireless network that cannot be relied on and a mobile fieldforce that is often out of coverage areas, an offline component for mobile applications reflects the reality of wireless communications today, said Roberta Wiggins, director of wireless mobile communications at Yankee Group.

Wiggins said carriers may have overestimated the revenue opportunity for wireless connectivity but new pricing solutions may resolve the issue.

"AT&T Wireless is offering unlimited access for $99.99 (£64.50) per month. It may be a lot but it is unlimited," Wiggins said.

Meanwhile, Jaques believed that giving mobile employees the ability to work offline and to connect intermittently will enable the carriers to target fresh industry areas.

Air2Web also announced two standalone packages 2Mail and 2Notify. The 2Mail application will allow users to reply to e-mails either when online or when offline on Research In Motion, Palm and J2ME-enabled devices.

The 2Notify application will allow a central administrator to broadcast alerts to users using SMS, WAP, e-mail, fax or voice. Version 5 of the Mobile Internet Platform is shipping now. The 2Notify and 2Mail applications will be available later this year.

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