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Eudora Goes Mobile

Digital wireless software vendor Qualcomm released Eudora2go, a software and hosted service combo that pushes e-mail to the phone.

The product, available on Tuesday through Verizon, was designed to bridge the gap between consumer applications that connect the handset to Web mail and the enterprise-class BlackBerry service offered by Research in Motion . Verizon will make Eudora2go available for three BREW-enabled phones, and Qualcomm hopes to get more carriers to distribute the product.

"This is an opportunity to get push e-mail on a more consumer-oriented device with very easy provisioning," said Bill Gannon, vice president of Qualcomm's Eudora products group.

Eudora2go includes PreMail, a feature that lets users preview the content of an e-mail instead of downloading the whole shebang. The services provides anti-virus and spam protection via filtering at the server level while securing communications via Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS).

Eudora2go and Eudora2go.net, the hosted service, were built by Intellisync and Rockliffe Systems. Intellisync makes software for device synchronization, secure wireless e-mail, device control and mobility management; it built the e-mail client. Rockliffe Systems develops mail server and gateway software. As the host for the service, it provides the server-side functionality that powers the Eudora2go.net service and push feature. It also provided the anti-spam and virus protection software.

While Intellisync makes white-label wireless e-mail software for a variety of mobile network operators, much of it is only available on smart phones or proprietary handheld devices, said Rip Gerber, chief marketing officer for Intellisync. "The client for BREW handsets is very different." Consumers with BREW-enabled phones can purchase applications online through the service provider's Web site, then call a number using the mobile phone to download and enable the application on the handset.

The desktop Eudora software, available since the 1990s, was something of an anomaly in the Qualcomm product roster. Gannon said the company saw value in maintaining a well-known, consumer-facing product.

"Other folks had technology for wireless e-mail, but there's nothing more powerful in the technology field than brand," Gannon said. "You have such a leg up over other products that maybe are comparable in features but are not known. If the Eudora brand name could be leant, it made good sense." The company reports 7 million users of Eudora worldwide.

Gannon said the mobile application was the result of the company's experience maintaining the desktop Eudora product. The interface and features of the mobile product are similar to the desktop version's.

"Other wireless e-mail offerings are out there, but most are positioned in the enterprise space," said Rockliffe CEO John Davies. "There's a large segment not being served today by wireless e-mail." He said that less that 5 percent of the more than 500 million wireless phones being used worldwide are smart phones; the rest have not been able to take advantage of push e-mail before the Eudora offering.

William Hurley, an analyst with Enterprise Strategies Group, said Eudora2go fills a gap in the market. "Other vendors in that space are very actively looking to develop or acquire products that complement the more monolithic e-mail accessibility models," he said, adding that mid-sized enterprises are interested in more lightweight products. "It hits at the intersection between a real serious need and a technology gap."