Nokia locks horns with BlackBerry in e-mail mobility

In the race to win the attention of executives on the move Nokia has released its mobile e-mail solution to go head to head with BlackBerry. The Nokia One Business Server aims to give business the freedom to select a combination of devices, delivery options and deployment methods to meet individual enterprise needs.

Nokia ANZ enterprise solutions general manager, Vaughn Madeley, said 91 percent of Australian business travellers need access to e-mail and company data adding that this offering is a far cheaper alternative to BlackBerry.

While BlackBerry has a strong presence among C-level executives, Madeley said it is often rated as too expensive for the rest of the workforce. "There's been a lot of hype around BlackBerry, but it's inherently expensive to deploy it to 300 to 400 people. Nokia One Business Server is a cheaper solution for mobilising your workforce," he said.

"This is the next step to where we're going with Nokia Enterprise Solutions over the next six to 12 months."

The product secures Nokia and non-Nokia devices alike, he said. Using patented Nokia technology, e-mail, attachments, embedded live intranet and Internet links, calendars, contacts, tasks and notes can be accessed in a format configured for the screen size of any device.

"Basically it allows companies to provide access from existing IT and mobile infrastructure to a centralised IT system [thereby] maximising the value of technology already deployed," he said.

"Installed behind the company firewall, it complements existing security infrastructure, desktop applications and mobile devices currently in place. Licensed employees simply select a secure corporate URL and they're mobile."

Nokia did not provide details of the companies in Australia currently trialing the product.

Meanwhile, trying to regain some of its lost market share, Nokia is hoping to woo enterprise customers with a lighter, sleeker version of its high-end Communicator handset that will be released worldwide at the beginning of next year.

The Communicator 9300, which is both a phone and a PDA, opens from its side rather like a glasses case to reveal a full keyboard and 65,536-colour screen. It uses Bluetooth to wirelessly transmit voice and data, offers high-speed Internet browsing and comes with built-in office applications, in a package that weights 167 grams. That compares to more than 200g for the previous Communicator, Nokia spokeswoman Tia Matthews said.

While the handset is aimed primarily at the corporate market, Nokia believes that the new product, which when closed looks and works much like a standard mobile phone, will appeal to a wider audience than its predecessors, Matthews added. The Communicator line was launched in 1996.

Laura Rohde contributed to this report

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