Real-time access to Notes coming to iPhone, other devices

Orlando, Fla. - IBM/Lotus for the first time ever will provide users of the iPhone and other mobile devices that support ActiveSync with real-time access to their email, calendars and contacts.

The company plans to announce on Wednesday that it will add support for Microsoft's ActiveSync protocol, which will enable instant over-the-air email delivery to Apple's iPhone 2.0 mail client and other handsets that support the protocol.

The ActiveSync technology will be added later this year to Lotus Notes Traveler, which provides real-time replication between mobile devices and Notes.

Lotus Notes users have had to suffer with email access via the iPhone's Safari browser and the Notes Web Access client. With that configuration, users have to manually connect to the Domino server and go through each individual email via the browser.

ActiveSync support has been one of the top requests Lotus gets from its user base, especially those based in Europe who do not have access to unlimited data plans.

The ActiveSync support was demonstrated on the iPhone during a session Monday at IBM's annual Lotusphere conference.

Presenter Ed Brill, director of product management for Lotus Software, would only say the company "plans to support ActiveSync in a future version of Lotus Notes Traveler."

But the support will come sooner rather than later, according to sources. And it comes on the heels of Monday's announcement of a slate of collaboration software, including support for Lotus Connections, and developer tools for RIM's Blackberry, which is the dominant device among enterprise users.

Push email support on the iPhone, which has quickly become a popular device for corporate users, has been available for Microsoft Exchange since March 6.

Since then, push email on the iPhone has been the exclusive domain for Lotus rival Microsoft and a few other smaller email vendors such as Kerio.

Motorola, Nokia, Palm, Sony Ericsson, Symbian also support ActiveSync on their mobile devices.

With Lotus Notes Traveler and ActiveSync support, those platforms also can provide users real-time email updates from the Domino server.

The iPhone also is getting attention from Lotus Partners. Sybase announced Monday a new version of iAnywhere Mobile Office that supports iPhone and combines enterprise-class email, calendaring and contacts.

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