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Analyst: Admins confused over Lotus' wireless offerings

Mobile Notes isn't just for Palms anymore.

Mobile Notes isn't just for Palms anymore. IBM Lotus Software announced last week that it will release a version of Mobile Notes for Compaq's iPaq handheld PC within four-to-eight weeks. But many Domino administrators still have no idea which products they need to extend Notes to their wireless clients.

Back in June, Lotus shipped a Mobile Notes client for the Palm OS, with its Domino Everyplace mobile and wireless server, Everyplace Enterprise 2.0. And a version for Symbian OS-based devices like Nokia's Communicator 9210 will hit the streets by the end of this year.

Each version of Mobile Notes will take advantage of a handheld PC's singular strengths. The client for the Compaq iPaq, for example, will be optimized for that device's 206 MHz Intel Strong ARM 32-bit Processor ? strong enough to scrub and verify data locally, before returning it to the server.

But with each of these additions to its Domino Everyplace server family, Lotus is sinking further into IBM's alphabet soup of brands and product names.

Server admins are confused by Lotus' mobile and wireless product offerings, according to Garter mobile computing analyst Ken Dulaney. "IBM has done a weak job of defining its products," he says. "And it's done a lousy job of getting the word out about new [mobile and wireless Domino] modules."

Dulaney says IBM Lotus should have one single product that can support all wireless users. At the moment, Domino Everyplace Access provides wireless Notes access for Internet-ready phones and PDAs with WAP browsers. Domino Everyplace Enterprise extends Notes and other Domino applications to Palm, Pocket PC and Symbian devices.

iPaq: Too Pricey?

Lotus' support for Pocket PC and Symbian may contribute little to the adoption of iPaq handhelds in the enterprise. iPaq handhelds start at $400, which may make them too expensive for broad distribution.

Many server admins will instead turn to wireless-capable Palms, which sell for as little as $200 ? about half the cost of the iPaq devices. "We have actually been waiting for the Palm client," says Douglas Kirk, Notes administrator and developer at Holy Name Hospital in Teaneck, NJ. "It's going to be a more cost-effective way to get wireless Notes into the hands of the hundreds of doctors we have here."

Still scratching your noodle over Mobile Notes deployment? Try these links:

Domino Everyplace: Fractured Wireless Support
http://www.lotus.com/home.nsf/welcome/domeveryplace
Domino Everyplace is all over the place. Find out how Lotus distinguishes among two-way pagers and WAP, Palm, Pocket PC and Symbian devices, with three different Domino Everyplace servers. You can also follow an interactive demo of Mobile Notes at http://www-3.ibm.com/pvc/media/demos/mobile_notes/final.html.

Mobile Notes: The Everyplace User's Guide
http://doc.notes.net/dee/2.0/dee_ug.nsf
Here's what you can look forward to when installing, configuring and synchronizing Mobile Notes and other mobile Domino applications.

Sametime Everyplace: Going Nowhere?
http://www.informationweek.com/thisweek/story/IWK20010802S0002
Without standardized wireless policies, IBM Lotus says, corporations will be slow to adopt its IM software, Sametime Everyplace. But a Lotus marketing exec thinks enterprises will soon be saying to their employees, "you can select from these phones and PDAs, and we'll integrate them with the infrastructure."

See searchDomino's Best Web Links on iNotes here:
http://searchdomino.techtarget.com/bestWebLinks/0,289521,sid4_tax285847,00.html

See searchDomino's Best Web Links on Sametime here:
http://searchdomino.techtarget.com/bestWebLinks/0,289521,sid4_tax1fd,00.html

Mark Baard is a contributing writer in Milton, Mass.

This was last published in September 2001

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