Show displays a range of telco offerings

Von Matt Hamblen

This week"s CTIA Wireless 2005 event brought together a wide array of industry exhibitors, from companies that erect cell towers to those that make chips for fancy new phones or cell phone fashion accessories. There are also a number of small companies with brainy young developers building video games and interactive services for wireless handhelds and smart phones.

While much of the focus here has been on the wireless consumer, there has been news pertinent to IT shops, too -- including an announcement Monday that Sybase Inc. will support Research in Motion Ltd. BlackBerry wireless handhelds with its iAnywhere mobile software. Companies now using BlackBerries for access to enterprise e-mail can now access business applications such as sales-force automation and field service programs, Sybase said in its announcement.

RIM has more than 2 million device users globally and has been pushing to reach financial services customers, RIM officials said.

Sybase named Veritext LLC as an early adopter of the new functionality. The provider of court-reporting services uses Sybase iAnywhere technology to provide Web and e-mail access to corporate and law firm transcripts via BlackBerries, making it easier for attorneys and corporate users to quickly access the information they need, Sybase officials said.

Veritext CIO Lolly Bak said Wednesday that the company had been using an earlier version of the product for about a year and spent about US$150,000 to set up the software. Bak said the company saw a quick return on investment, which is one reason it plans to expand its use of iAnywhere in the future.

In a separate announcement, RIM and America Online Inc. announced that RIM has joined AOL"s Mobile Developer Program to support AOL Instant Messenger and icQ services on wireless BlackBerry devices. The companies said the combination should offer BlackBerry users, who are predominantly workers and not consumers, a more secure form of instant messaging.

In yet another RIM announcement, Yahoo said access to its instant messaging software, Yahoo Messenger, will be extended to BlackBerry devices in the next several months. The exact timing of the rollout wasn"t announced.

RIM competitor Intellisync Corp. announced this week that it is providing a range of device management and security capabilities for the new Sprint Managed Mobility Services, which were announced at CTIA on Monday. Functions supported by Intellisync software include over-the-air distribution of software components and upgrades, device backup and restore and configuration management, as well as security management.

In another enterprise-related announcement, JP Mobile Inc. unveiled SureWave Mobile Connect, a wireless subscription service designed to provide mobile professionals with Microsoft Outlook wireless e-mail and Personal Information Manager data on their handhelds. The service, available now, costs $12.95 a month, JP Mobile said.