Can open source crack the mobile case?

Despite all the talk about mobile Linux, the big money here is quiet. But quiet and silent are two different things.

Funambol
Mobile open source projects are still all about the enterprise.

Andrew Aiken, a member of the advisory board for Funambol, which has an open source mobile platform, admitted as such to me today in describing a target application.

"Say you’re a salesperson selling, say, hardware for tractor parts. But you can have an applicatoin on your phone, which becomes a disconnected client. You step outside the customer firewall and get connected back to your company, which tells you about availability, configuration, price, and you can automatically create a quote you can bring back inside, print out a proposal and hand in. They sign it, you go outside and the information is automatically transmitted back."

Such applications have been around for more than 20 years. One of the first tech stories I did in Atlanta, back in 1982, was about an outfit called Computone that was pushing that kind of capability for insurance agents, only their unit came with a printer. It also weighed about 20 pounds, but no matter. (Computone became Symbiat in 2002.)

My conversation with Aiken was prompted by news that Funambol has signed a license agreement with Computer Associates (PDF) that fits this precise trend. In addition to enterprises, Aiken said, he sees international ISPs and Original Device Makers (ODMs) as good markets.

But they all need someone to sell to. It's enterprises who will pay the freight. Despite all the talk about mobile Linux, the big money here is quiet. But quiet and silent are two different things.

Newsletters

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
See All
See All