Palm Releases Wireless Enterprise Tool

Stepping up its battle against Pocket PC in the enterprise, Palm, Inc.
said Monday that has started shipping its Wireless Database Access Server (WDBAS), which will enable information technology departments and systems integrators to create applications for wireless Palm OS-based devices that access corporate databases.

The company touted release of the product as the second part of its strategy to encourage use of its wireless products by large companies. The first part was the release in January of the Palm i705 wireless device, which supports always-on e-mail connectivity.

WDBAS enables developers to use the two most popular integrated development environments (IDEs) for Palm applications — Metrowerks CodeWarrior and AppForge — to create wireless client applications. In fact, for now, WDBAS is available only from CodeWarrior and AppForge as part of their larger toolkits for developers.

Palm claimed in a statement that WDBAS is “open” because it enables development of a single application that can be deployed not only on Palm-based devices but also on devices based on the competing Microsoft Pocket PC platform.

Developers can use the combination of WDBAS and those IDEs to create applications that offer real-time access to the data rather than requiring synchronization or access via a browser. Users can also store data on their mobile devices and access them while off-line, according to Palm.

“Until now many enterprises were apprehensive that deploying their database applications wirelessly would take skills and money they didn’t have,” said Jonathan Oakes, director of Enterprise Strategy at Palm, Inc. “Palm wants to extend the same ease of use that has made Palm so successful in the handheld industry into the mobile enterprise applications space.”

Palm says WDBAS works with virtually all enterprise databases including Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, Sybase and IBM DB2. It includes encryption libraries from Certicom and Secure Socket Layer (SSL) security.

The company said that, in addition to the version of WDBAS available now via AppForge and Metrowerks CodeWarrior, it will ship a WDBAS Enterprise Edition later this year with as-yet unspecified advanced features.

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