GoodLink software makes UK debut

Mobile synchronisation product GoodLink, which keeps PalmOne Treo 600 devices continually synchronised over wireless links, has...

Mobile synchronisation product GoodLink, which keeps PalmOne Treo 600 devices continually synchronised over wireless links, has arrived in the UK.

Good Technology, which recently launched version 3.0 of the product, will sell it to companies wanting to keep e-mail and calendar information continually up to date on several Treos.

"We've made this a zero-touch operation for the IT manager," said Sue Forbes, vice president of marketing at Good. "There is no desktop software or cradle."

Instead, the software synchronises continually in the background, connected to the company's Microsoft Exchange server through a GoodLink server in the data room.

Each PDA runs a GoodLink client designed to look as much like Microsoft Outlook as possible, but with some improvements over Microsoft's Pocket Office, such as multitasking, allowing appointments to be opened directly from an e-mail.

The Treo 600 is a popular smartphone which combines a PalmOne PDA with a built-in phone. Goodlink lets companies use the device much as the competing Blackberry, but with additional PalmOne PDA functions.

Good has announced a version supporting the Phone edition of Microsoft's Windows Mobile for Pocket PCs (developed closely with Microsoft, and replacing the existing smartphone client software) but this will not be available until May.

The software also handles management functions, such as assigning access different levels and monitoring whether a device is on or off the network. It also keeps a profile of the device which can be updated over the cellular network. Admins can download the software to a new smartphone just bought.

"Organisations tend to break down into two kinds," said Forbes. "Some are centrally focused; they buy devices with data plans, load up the software and send them out to individuals. Some organisations like to put the server in and leave it to groups to choose their devices and synchronise them."

For security, the software uses encryption with Triple DES or AES.

The system cost works out around £180 per user per year, and the cost of synchronizing data will be a couple of pounds per month per user (the device uses compression and most people will use less than 2MB of data over a month). "Even we only use about 5MB a month, and we are really heavy users," explained Forbes.

In the US, Good has 1,600 corporate customers, many of whom are using original proprietary device and RIM's Blackberry, which the company previously supported.

Forbes expected the first UK customers to be subsidiaries of existing US customers.

Peter Judge writes for Techworld.com

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