Zenworks 5 offers more control over corporate handhelds

Novell has released version 5 of its Zenworks for Handhelds management software, writes Antony Adshead.

Novell has released version 5 of its Zenworks for Handhelds management software, writes Antony Adshead.

The application offers enterprises the ability to gain a degree of control over employees' handheld devices and attain some level of security in the Palm, Windows CE and Pocket PC environments. Novell claimed this will reduce the cost of ownership for these devices, which usually outstrips their purchase price.

Analyst firm Gartner has estimated the total cost of ownership for a corporate handheld is about $3,000 (£1,900) per year.

The fact that Zenworks is compatible only with these operating systems, and ignores Linux and Java, may be off-putting to some enterprises where mobile and handheld diversity has already outstripped the three big PDA names.

Jennifer Figueras, an analyst at Ovum, said the software would help in the struggle to control the proliferation of handhelds in the enterprise. "The increasing number of devices is out of control, and gaining control of them is difficult," she said. "Then there is that fact that massive diversity is brought into the equation. With PCs it is relatively simple for the administrator to gain control but putting the necessary client software on handhelds and getting them connected can be difficult.

"The trend is towards getting a single view of all devices, but businesses are increasingly needing to manage thinner devices such as mobile phones. There is a need to manage Blackberry, Nokia Communicator and other mobile phone-based devices."

The Zenworks for Handhelds software fits into a family of software products which manages servers, desktops and laptops. It provides network administrators with the means to centralise password and file management for employees' devices, bringing standardisation of device configuration and up-to-date device inventory.

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