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Giving Blackberry a Black Eye?


While Research in Motion Ltd.
(RIM) has been the heavyweight of the enterprise mobile data market with its Blackberry product, there’s a new contender in town that may have the staying power to face RIM in the ring. JP Mobile Inc. is in the corner with SureWave Mobile Connect, available for private label.

SureWave is a subscription-based, hosted wireless solution for secure corporate e-mail access as well as remote tapping of calendars and contact lists, customer relationship management applications and sales force automation. Resellers can private-label SureWave bundled with Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB’s P910a smartphone, featuring automated over-theair provisioning, or they can build their own bundles as the service is compatible with a range of Symbian, Palm and Windows Mobile-powered devices.

Will it float like a butterfly and sting like a bee? The idea, says SureWave, is to market something that’s cheaper and easier to set up than the Blackberry package while offering the same functionality, via a growing channel of reseller partners with entrenched customer bases.

“Over the next several years, as more and more businesses seek the productivity gains and competitive advantage of anytime, anywhere access to corporate e-mail and other data, they will look to their service providers for mobility solutions that are secure, reliable and affordable,” says Dayakar Puskoor, CEO for JP Mobile. “SureWave for service providers was built from the ground up to address this need. We anticipate an enthusiastic response as we aggressively market SureWave to ASPs, ISPs, Web mail providers, MVNOs and wireless operators.”

JP Mobile already has found some takers since launching SureWave for resale in March: Apptix ASA, which develops service management software and solutions for the outsourced messaging and desktop services market, and Sprint Corp., which has integrated SureWave with two handheld devices for executives, sales staff and IT staff at Newsweek.

As for end-user demand, JP Mobile and its partners are confident that a lower price tag and easy setup will bring the wireless email trend to new segments.

Blackberry enterprise service starts at $49.95 per month, per user. Also, the Blackberry Enterprise Server is required behind the corporate firewall, and carries a retail price of $5,000, not including the cost of integrating it with the Microsoft Exchange Server. Blackberry devices range in price from around $150 to $600, depending on the retailer. In contrast, JP Mobile’s subscription rate is $39.95 per month, per user, and requires no additional hardware or software. Compatible devices run the gamut from $30 to $600, again depending on the retailer.

Neither pricing outline includes the “buckets of minutes” the service provider would include in the monthly cost.

Ease of use is another barrier to adoption that JP Mobile hopes to solve. For instance, to activate a wireless e-mail account, users visit JP Mobile’s SureWave Mobile Connect portal, enter an Outlook Web access path and Exchange domain name, and can then receive wirelessly Microsoft Outlook e-mail data from their corporate or ASP/ISP Exchange server.

“By bundling the SureWave-enabled P910a with an affordable, easy-to-activate subscription service, we’re providing corporate IT and mobile professionals with what amounts to an out-of-the-box, turnkey solution for wireless e-mail,” says Gregor Bleimann, head of Enterprise Business for Sony Ericsson. “We believe the time is right for an easy, affordable wireless e-mail solution such as SureWave Mobile Connect on the P910 smartphone, and we anticipate an enthusiastic response from businesses and mobile professionals who want wireless email but have been put off by the cost and hassle of currently available solutions.”

Links

Apptix ASA www.apptix.com
JP Mobile Inc. www.jpmobile.com
Research in Motion Ltd. www.researchmotion.com
Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB www.sonyericsson.com
Sprint Corp. www.sprint.com


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