RealTime IT News

Outlook On Your Cell Phone?

Responding to the fickle needs of corporate roadwarriors, Sprint PCS today unveiled its next-generation wireless Web services bundled specifically for businesses, linking cellular phones with corporate networks in order to access popular applications such as Lotus Notes or Microsoft Outlook.

As part of the introduction of the Sprint PCS Wireless Web for Business, the wireless division of long-distance giant Sprint also announced strategic alliances with some of the nation's leading business solutions vendors, such as Siebel Systems , Sabre Holdings Corp. and PeopleSoft.com . Sprint also enhanced the connectivity with faster wireless Internet access comparable to landline dial-up access of 56.6 kbps.

The new products suite continues to operate on the Phone.com browser and is designed in handheld device markup language (HDML), which will allow for easy migration to WAP protocol should that become the standard. Yet corporate roadwarriors eager to embrace the new suite of products still need to contend with the typical challenges that plague the entire phone-to-web community: how to use that little keypad.

To be sure, Sprint plans to unveil its latest handheld device -- the Sprint PCS TP3000 -- late next month just as the new business products and services will become available. The TP3000, manufactured by LG Infocom, features PDA-style functionality and will retail for about $399, according to a Sprint spokeswoman.

"What we've figured out quite quickly was corporate users, while they could access email through AOL, also wanted access to their corporate emails and that's what we're delivering," said Kami Jowers, company spokeswoman.

In addition, Sprint assured that the mobile connections to corporate networks are secure. The Sprint PCS Wireless Web Private Network Connection extends the corporate network wirelessly while maintaining existing security. Sprint PCS will offer turnkey solutions to enterprises that will provide access to content and applications behind a corporation's firewall directly on the browser of Internet-ready Sprint PCS Phones.

The new services will be priced at $40 a month for unlimited service so long as the qualified business customers is on a $49.99 and above Free & Clear Plan. Or they can purchase the Wireless Web Option for $10 per month and use all their monthly minutes for voice or data services, making the pricing points similar to the Sprint's existing consumer service. For a limited time, new business customers activating on a $49.99 and above Free & Clear Plan may receive the Wireless Web Option free for six months, beginning Sept. 1.