October 2 2010
Last night I caught the news that Microsoft had filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Motorola over certain methods and technologies employed in the Motorola Android-based smartphones. According to ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley, coupled with the comments from Microsoft counsel on their blog, it's pretty clear the suit in part covers the implementation of Exchange ActiveSync protocol for sync of mailbox information, as well as group scheduling.
Well doesn't IBM Lotus look pretty smart right about now.
With the fastest-growing business mobile email solution, IBM Lotus Notes Traveler supports a variety of mobile operating systems and handset manufacturers. Specifically with regards to Android, in January we announced that we would build our own native Notes Traveler client for Android. This was a departure from our posture with Notes Traveler until that point; building clients isn't necessarily the approach we want to take when many devices (e.g. Apple iOS) have excellent on-board support. In Android, what I've been saying all year is that we at IBM decided we can't rely on the base operating system or device to provide us the enterprise-class capabilities we need. The base Android OS doesn't include full-featured business email and calendar clients, and some device manufacturers have taken other approaches.
Instead we built our own client, using the SyncML protocol, for Android. It's taken us longer than I would have liked, but we started from bare metal in the Android OS. And now that approach is looking like a win for Android-based handset manufacturers and our mutual customers. Because when we [expect to] ship the client next month (yes, the target is November), it can be used with the Notes Traveler server to provide those needed business email functions immediately.
Android is a complicated market to work in. We chose to support only 2.x devices, which are the majority in-market today but not 100%. We encounter hurdles like the fact that AT&T has completely locked their Android-based devices from installing software outside the AT&T Marketplace -- meaning we simply can't get the Android client onto AT&T handsets. But searches and requests for the Notes client for Android are among the most popular comments I get here, as well as inquiries through our sales/marketing channels, so clearly the market is ready.
So, dear Android users and fans, your wait will soon be over, and you can connect to the best messaging and collaboration platform without being distracted by market squabbles. Soon. Very soon. And if you are in the beta, watch for an updated code drop sometime this week.