RealTime IT News

Palm Illuminates Tungsten With Stellent

Palm Wednesday said it is licensing some server software from a new partner for its upcoming Tungsten Mobile Information Management (MIM) server product.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based handheld computer maker said it is working with Eden Prairie, Minn.-based Stellent to embed its Outside In Wireless Export conversion technology in the new boxes, which are due out on October 28.

When released, Tungsten's MIM platform will offer secure wireless e-mail and groupware access. Currently it is designed for use with the Palm i705 handheld to take advantage of its WAN capabilities and the Palm m500 series handhelds with the Xircom 802.11 module. Palm was very vague on whether it would extend Tungsten's technology to its recently released Zire handheld or other future Palm products.

"This is the first time that we have worked with Stellent and we liked what they had to offer," Palm senior product manager Gail Claspell told internetnews.com. "Does this mean that we will only work only with Stellent on Palm products? Does it mean that we will work with other handheld vendors that want to tap into Tungsten? I can't say. It's one of those 'watch this space,' things."

There is some expectation that Palm will at least extend its Tungsten capabilities to Sony products like the CLIE considering the invested $20 million in PalmSource, Palm's breakaway operating system division.

Stellent's Outside In Wireless Export technology can convert more than 225 file types to WML, cHTML/iMode, HDML, HTML, AvantGo HTML, WCA HTML 1.1 and ASCII text. The company said the information is compiled in the server well before being downloaded to the PDA prior to viewing. The idea is to let Palm users view e-mail attachments without having to perform a HotSync operation or transfer the native file.

While Palm is new to Stellent's technology, companies like Procter & Gamble, Merrill Lynch, Los Angeles County, British Red Cross, Target Corp., Yahoo!, Hewlett-Packard and Ericsson Telecom are not.

Targeted primarily to developers and OEMs who need to use business documents within their applications, Stellent is better know for its Outside In XML Export, a server based Java or C API that transforms document formats, including Microsoft Word/Excel, Wordperfect, Lotus 1-2-3, GIF, and JPEG, into a specific XML schema. Additionally, built-in XSLT processors allow the developer to further process and convert files into other standard formats or user-defined schemas through the use of custom stylesheets.

The schema used for converting documents to XML in the Java API is provided as a DTD. Called FlexionDoc, this DTD provides an XML tagging scheme allowing for the storage of the content, structure, and format of the original business documents; allowing them to be used further beyond the XML transformation while still retaining information critical in the original creation of the document. Developers manipulate documents through a set of Java classes and interfaces that provide access to the text, formatting, and properties of the original documents.

The latest release of XML Export, v2.2, is available in both C and Java API flavors and includes the additional XML schema SearchML, "...which is designed for information extraction in indexing, knowledge management and content management applications."

Stellent said the SearchML schema is less powerful than FlexionDOC, but is available in both C and Java API versions.

The new Tungsten server should have a wide reach. During the last three months, Palm said it shipped around 819,000 Palm branded devices, bringing its year-to-date shipments to nearly 19 million. According to Internet marketing research group NPD, Palm's market share in U.S. retail was 59 percent as of Aug. 25.