Companies join forces for wireless access

Users of handheld Palm devices soon will have access to applications through a joint offering proposed on Tuesday by Sun Microsystems, the Sun-Netscape Alliance, and Palm Computing.

Unveiled at the Wireless 2000 conference in New Orleans, the plan calls for Sun-Netscape Alliance to add support for the Palm Web-clipping architecture and Palm OS devices to the iPlanet Wireless Server, giving users the ability to access enterprise data -- such as finding up-to-date pricing information while on a sales call -- via Palm's Palm.Net wireless service.

The iPlanet Wireless Server, introduced in late January and expected to ship in March, uses XML-based style sheets to format content for specific device requirements, such as screen size. The Wireless Server also supports the WAP (Wireless Access Protocol) and Short Message Services alerts and notes for wireless devices, according to Sun-Netscape Alliance officials.

Although the iPlanet Wireless Server was targeted mainly toward the service provider market, the solution from Palm, Sun, and the Alliance will be pushed into the enterprise market as well in an attempt to catch the attention of companies that find their employees becoming increasingly mobile.

The three companies plan to jointly market and deploy the wireless solution to their customers. Palm also is considering Sun's SunTone Certification program for its Palm.Net service; joining SunTone would give Palm access to Sun marketing and consulting assistance as well as a "seal of approval" on the Palm.Net service quality.

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