iAnywhere Update Advances Mobile Productivity

Sybase (NYSE:SY) has built out the capabilities of its iAnywhere
for mobile users with a new component dubbed iAnywhere Mobile Office. The idea is help users get more out of their mobile devices by making certain business processes relatively easy to perform.

Sybase also announced improvements in security and administration it said would extend the battery life of mobile devices.

“We’re pretty excited because it positions us as able to offer an extension to a company’s workflow on these mobile devices,” Senthil Krishnapillai, a product management direct for iAnywhere, told InternetNews.com. “A lot of things that are easy to do on a laptop are much more difficult on a small device. We’re using Web services to connect the pieces of an application that are most needed to the mobile user.”

Krishnapillai gives examples such as an expense report or a purchase order authorization form that would typically be hard to navigate on a Windows Mobile Smartphone or Symbian device.

iAnywhere Mobile Office filters those applications down on the client side so you can complete, for example, an authorization or purchase order with a few simple clicks without having to download the full application.

“It’s a pretty innovative idea — I’m not aware of any other mobile e-mail provider doing anything quite like this,” IDC analyst Stacy Sudan told InternetNews.com. “E-mail is one of the most prevalent applications for mobile users, so by extending its capabilities, Sybase is making life easier for those users.”

Sybase said it provides widgets and templates as part of its software development kit (SDK) to help enterprises get started with iAnywhere Mobile Office, slated to be available later this spring. Initially, the suite will support Windows Mobile and Symbian devices, and Sybase said it plans to support other mobile devices as well.

While Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), RIM (NASDAQ: RIMM) and Nokia (NYSE:NOK) always aim to expand the enterprise features and usefulness of their software, Sudan thinks Sybase has an advantage as a neutral
third party
. “They (Sybase) try to be device- and network-agnostic, which is what enterprises are looking for,” she said. “Support for all the devices a company wants to use.”

Two other features related to the iAnywhere suite revolve around security and battery life.

Sybase is making core features of its Afaria mobile security a standard part of iAnywhere Mobile Office, so each client has on-device password enforcement, data encryption and lockdown features in the case of the device being lost or stolen.

Companies that need central management and deployment security options can upgrade to the full Afaria suite.

The client security features will initially be available for Windows Mobile this month, with support for other platforms to follow.

“Selecting specific files to encrypt tends to bog down performance and battery life,” said Shari Freeman, director of product management for Afaria group. “We’re addressing that issue by storing all the data on the device in encrypted form in main memory and only decrypting it when it’s requested or needed by an application.”

Freeman said the encryption/decryption process is almost instantaneous, and beta testers have reported no noticeable drag in response time for accessing encrypted versus unencrypted data.

A coming X factor in the corporate market is Apple’s iPhone, which, so far, hasn’t had the compatibility with Microsoft Exchange and other connectivity features that would stand to drive more sales to big companies.

Apple has made clear it wants to get those sales and has an event planned for this Thursday, when the company says it will detail its iPhone road map for the enterprise.

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