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11/15/2007
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Funambol To Sync With Google's Android

Currently Funambol supplies over 1.5 billion mobile phones with open source-based "push" e-mail, contacts, and calendars.

Mobile 2.0 messaging software provider Funambol this week announced plans to start an open source project that would result in a messaging and sync client for Google's Android mobile-phone software development platform.

Funambol's client for Android phones will work in conjunction with Funambol's free Web portal to wirelessly sync Personal Information Manager data, such as contacts appointments, and tasks, and e-mail systems such as Gmail, Yahoo Mail, AOL, Microsoft Outlook, and others. It also will allow users to wirelessly migrate PIM data from other phones and the Web to their Android phones.

The initial version of the client, available by the end of this year, will only be able to sync contacts. A more comprehensive version will become available when Android phones ship next year, according to Funambol.

Currently Funambol supplies more than 1.5 billion mobile phones with open source-based "push" e-mail, contacts, and calendars. There's also a commercial version of Funambol's software that has been adopted by wireless carriers and service providers, including EarthLink in the United States and 1&1 in Europe.

Last week, Funambol made available its over-the-air sync application to iPhone users. The app was developed with the help of an open source community, using data synchronization and device management standards from an industry forum known as the Open Mobile Alliance.

Funambol is taking the same open source approach with the Google Android. The client is the first major open source mobile messaging project for Android, Funambol said.

Earlier this week, Google announced the first release of the software development kit for Android, which includes a set of tools that software developers will use to create applications for Android-based phones. Android is based on the Linux 2.6 kernel and includes an operating system, a full set of libraries, a multimedia user interface, and a full set of phone applications -- all available to third-party developers.

Global shipments of smartphones are expected to increase to 324 million units by 2011, up from 124.3 million this year, according to research firm iSuppli. In a new report released on Thursday, iSuppli said Google's move is likely to create a powerful new competitor in the mobile phone space and impact users by opening up Internet access beyond the confines of a PC.

But one iSuppli analyst warned about potential challenges Google faces. "Google needs to get someone to be the first to make a phone that really creates the category and quickly results in millions of units sold," said David Carnevale, VP of multimedia content and distribution. "Previous efforts at establishing standards have largely been failures. Selling a lot of products creates de facto market standards and that's why the iPhone has attracted so much attention."

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