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O2 updates mobile e-mail for enterprises

A tie-in with Motorola Good Technology Group will focus on corporate management of certain Windows Mobile handsets.

O2 has launched a new mobile e-mail portfolio, Good Mobile Solutions, for its enterprise customers, promising enhanced security and management for the operator's Windows Mobile users.

The result of collaboration between the provider and the Motorola Good Technology Group, the end-to-end package is aimed at helping IT departments remotely manage devices from Exchange and Domino servers. However, it is compatible only with handsets sporting Qwerty keyboards.

"The portfolio gives our enterprise customers a secure, personalized push e-mail and corporate application solution," said Phil Edwards, O2's head of business data marketing, on Tuesday. "Good [technology group] has been well established in America and Europe for a number of years and they have a really strong pedigree. O2 is the first carrier in the United Kingdom to launch Good as a complete end-to-end solution."

Edwards told ZDNet Asia's sister site ZDNet.co.uk that the package would include server licenses and software, and would be priced according to negotiations between the customer and O2 as per usual with enterprise telephony deals.

Motorola bought Good Technology, specialists in enterprise mobile computing software and services, in November last year. Before the acquisition, Motorola had been using Good's mobile-messaging software on its Q phone.

Richard Hudson, EMEA general manager for the Motorola Good Technology Group, said several new features would be added to the product on top of its existing over-the-air synchronization of e-mail, contacts, calendars, tasks and notes. For example, users will be able to check their colleagues' scheduled availability for meetings, and reattach attachments to emailed documents in their native format for resending. Inboxes will also be sortable not only by date, but also conversation thread, priority or sender. An RSS feed reader has also been added for news updates.

As with rival packages from the likes of RIM, managers will have the ability to lock down and encrypt devices remotely, or shut down specific applications such as the camera or Bluetooth.

Much of this functionality will also be found in Microsoft's own server-side tool, System Center Mobile Device Manager 2008, announced on Tuesday. However, Hudson argued, O2's package is "shipping today" and will support legacy versions of Exchange, including 2003 and 2000.

Good Mobile Solutions will be made available on Motorola's Q9 handset, due for release in November, as well as the Palm 750 and most of O2's XDA range of handsets. However, handsets without Qwerty keyboards (such as the XDA Argon) will not be supported. According to Edwards, this is because "customers aren't really mobilizing e-mail on those devices".