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12/1/2006
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Wireless E-Mail Comes Down A Peg

Wireless push e-mail doesn't have to come with a high price tag or require a smartphone. Seven Networks, a provider of wireless e-mail software, and service provider Alltel Wireless last week extended wireless push e-mail to cell phones that use the Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless, or Brew, a Qualcomm application development platform.

Now anyone sporting a phone like the Motorola Razr and an Alltel subscription can use Seven's Office Sync software for Brew to receive wireless e-mail. Businesses can get the service from Alltel, the fifth largest U.S. cellular provider, for $15 a month with unlimited data transmission. T-Mobile already offers wireless push e-mail powered by the BlackBerry Connect service on the Samsung t719 flip phone for $30 a month with a phone plan.

Wireless e-mail is one of the most popular apps among business professionals, so demand for mobile devices that offer it is growing (see "Everyone Wants One," Dec. 19/26, 2005). Smartphones have been the best way to get wireless e-mail. But they remain pricey, typically from $200 to $300 for the device, plus subscription fees.

Some companies want to give wireless e-mail to employees who don't need access to business apps; lower-end mobile devices make sense for them. "We're definitely seeing a trend where lower-end phones are getting e-mail," says Kathryn Weldon, an analyst at Current Analysis, "and they're a lot cheaper to use."

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