Dell and Good Technology Link Hands

MENLO PARK, Calif. — Looking to up its station in the handheld device pecking order, Dell Computer Tuesday said it has struck a deal with startup Good Technologies.

Financial terms were not discussed, but the plan is to co-develop future wireless products and services for corporate customers.

“Customers of all sizes are implementing or evaluating wireless technologies throughout their enterprises, and our intent is to work with Good to deliver products and services that are simple and affordable for them to deploy,” Dell senior vice president John Medica said.

Round Rock, Texas-based Dell used to sell devices from Good’s chief rival Research In Motion (RIM) . It no longer does. Dell said its customers were clamoring for Good products.

At an event billed as “an important news announcement,” at the offices of Good’s main venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, the two companies also pledged to trade reference designs to make not only the PDAs but also streamline and cut costs off the services that run them.

“Dell and Good customers can get started right away with a GoodLink wireless system running on Dell servers — and leverage that same system going forward as the backbone to power next-generation devices,” Good CEO Danny Shader said.

Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Good makes products similar to those that made Waterloo, Ontario’s RIM famous: a pocket-sized device, wireless corporate e-mail (called GoodLink) to help keep mobile employees in the loop; applications; and server software. There is also a corporate data center called GoodInfo.

When lined up side by side with RIM’s Blackberry, it’s tough to see major differences. In Good’s G100 handheld, there is access to e-mail and the Web, and it appears to be corporate-friendly, with its GoodInfo feature — all of which is some of what RIM has to offer with its products and services.

Shortly after coming onto the scene last May, Good filed a preemptive suit against RIM, attacking RIM’s patent on unified e-mail.

The legal entanglement has roots going back to last June. The various legal details are still being worked out.

While Good is busy with RIM, Dell has set its PDA sights on both sales leader Palm and No. 2 Hewlett-Packard .

According to tech research firm IDC’s “Worldwide Handheld Qview,” Dell lags behind in fourth place just behind Sony . Casio, Toshiba, Handspring, Sharp, RIM and GSL round out the top ten.

The report said Dell does have momentum in the handheld space. The company recently reported a strong selling quarter with its Axim X5 series, priced at $199 and $299, and volume of shipments that tripled sequentially.

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