Handhelds, Palmtops Become More Reliable



IT managers often critique handheld and palmtop devices fortwo failings: They fall short when it comes to accessing data on business networks and the Web, and they're hard to manage. Synchronization vendor Riverbed Technologies Inc. hopes to change that by forming alliances with database, systems management, and Web connectivity vendors, including Computer Associates, Oracle, and Spyglass.

Riverbed's ScoutSync software lets Palm OS and Windows CE devices securely synchronize data with database and application servers, but users must configure this capability for each program. Oracle this week will make synchronization easier for Palm users. It will include ScoutSync within its Oracle Field Sales/Palm CRM module to enable ready-to-run communications with Oracle databases.

Riverbed CEO Wayne Jackson says the company wants to "make these small devices as effective and implementable as PCs." Internet connectivity has been problematic, however; most Web pages aren't formatted for small screens and slow bandwidth connections. This week, Riverbed will license Spyglass' Prism technology, which converts Internet content into formats small devices can load more quickly. It will use Prism in ScoutWeb, due this fall and expected to start at $5,000.

Additionally, Riverbed will integrate its ScoutIT network- management software with the software-delivery and asset- management modules of CA's Unicenter TNG. Synchrologic Inc., meanwhile, says its iMobile Suite for data synchronization, file sharing, and application distribution is due for the Palm OS in September, and CE devices by year's end.

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