Companies form Mobile Apps Link alliance

Several software vendors for handheld computers, cell phones, and other mobile devices have teamed up to further develop a recently introduced, standardised protocol for devices to communicate with networks.

The group, called the Mobile Application Link Forum, is seeking to promote a common format in which devices such as the Palm Pilot and Windows CE PC companions can exchange information with network servers and databases.

The companies participating in the forum said yesterday in a statement that they are seeking to refine specifications for an open communications protocol using newly developed technology, called Mobile Application Link communication protocol. They are Puma Technology, Aether Systems, Attachmate, AvantGo, Certicom, Globalware Computing, the Windward Group and ePocrates.

In May, AvantGo and Puma Technology started developing software for a common communications format for mobile devices, said David Krane, director of marketing for Certicom, which provides encryption technology. Software developed by the companies already has been bundled with handheld devices from several manufacturers, including Hewlett-Packard, Casio, Palm Computing, IBM and Symbol Technologies, Krane said.

"We are trying to define a standard that (mobile device) companies can implement inside their own products so users don't have to go through any vendor-specific configurations in order to get on the network," Krane said.

The forum will refine specifications of the protocol, which is available royalty-free as an open source for developers to observe or download.

Organisations wishing to join the forum or obtain a version of the Mobile Application Link software can reach the forum at http://www.mobilelink.org

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