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RealTime IT News

Lotus Goes Mobile With Nokia, Ericsson

Nokia, the world's largest mobile phone maker, and competitor Ericsson have signed separate deals to use software from IBM's Lotus Development Corp., of Cambridge, Mass., in their newest Web-enabled wireless phones.

Lotus' Mobile Notes will be deployed in the new Nokia 9210 Communicator, set for release in the U.S. later this year, and Ericsson's R380 phone and future devices.

The pacts will let the 78 million users of Lotus Notes and Domino software access e-mail, calendar and address-book functions, plus advanced applications, such as sales-force automation software, from the devices. The software will also help companies deploy mobile commerce initiatives.

Financial terms of the agreements were not disclosed, but the market opportunity for Lotus is sizeable. IDC says the market for mobile middleware (software that allows companies to deliver information over mobile devices) will grow 61 percent annually to $1.5 billion by 2005.

Nokia sells about 130 million wireless phones annually -- about one-fifth of the world's supply-- while Ericsson, the number-three maker, sells more than 40 million annually.

For its part, Nokia is banking on strong sales of its new 9210 Communicator, which promises to simplify mobile computing. Targeted at business users, the device will operate like a normal mobile phone. But it also folds open like a book, giving users get a high-resolution color screen with a small keyboard to enter data. It offers data-transmission speeds of up to 43.2 kbps.

With Lotus Mobile Notes installed, Nokia said users can access the same applications they access through their office PCs, allowing them to "complete forms, participate in workflows, access sales force automation tools, or run interactive applications."

Uffe Sorensen, CTO of Lotus Europe, said the new Nokia device "represents a breakthrough in the convergence of the mobile phone and the computer. The new breed of Web-enabled, handheld devices will enable the mobile user to conduct business in ways that has never been possible before."

For Ericsson's part, the Lotus deal will allow its mobile customers to use Lotus Domino Everyplace Access Server to deliver mobile access to business applications and data over Ericsson R380 smartphones powered by the Symbian EPOC platform. Lotus will also provide instant messaging capabilities to users.