Nokia's Slim Sync

Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) is pushing the synchronization capabilities of its new E50 enterprise E-Series smartphone, which is the smallest yet of these business-focused phones from the Finnish vendor.

Users are already familiar with over-the-air synchronization in the form of mobile email, but Nokia's newest device goes beyond that. The GSM-based phone has Intellisync synchronization software onboard as well as Microsoft and Adobe software readers. This means that users can open documents and spreadsheets on the phone and access other business applications.

IT administrators can remotely manage the devices via a Web interface. The Intellisync device management server can either be located at the company or at a service provider's facilities. Nokia is even pushing for more standardized sync interfaces via the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) device management specifications.

Analysts think the management of mobile phones is now starting to become an issue for enterprise users. "I think enterprises (especially larger ones) are beginning to worry that smarter and smarter phones provide greater and greater exposure to all kinds of security risks, whether information leaks or malware or whatever," says Jan Dawson, VP of U.S. Enterprise Practice at Ovum Ltd.

"So there is increasing demand for some kind of security solution for mobility," the analyst continues. "But that may be a totally managed service, or it may be buying software and/or hardware from a specialist and doing the day-to-day management within the company itself."

Some IT administrators are already getting up to speed with phone sync. "We synchronize [Microsoft-based] smartphones with Active Directory," says Craig Fletcher, IT operations manager at Highlands Ranch, Colo., environmental firm Arcadis.

Fletcher also points to one of the further challenges for Nokia -- namely getting the E-Series phones on the list of "approved devices" that IT departments recommend that users buy. "We advocate smartphones running Windows [mobile] OS and BlackBerries," he says. "We don't have the resources to deal with any more."

The E50 is expected to start shipping in Europe in the third quarter of this year.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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