IBM is working with Intel and UK smart phone developer Symbian to develop applications for wireless devices.
The alliance will see the companies embedding key components from Lotus' mobile notes client, IBM's DB2 Everyplace database and Tivoli's mobile device management technology into mobile devices.
Big Blue hopes that the move will enable wireless devices to interface directly with corporate IT infrastructures and PC systems.
"The deal's intention is to make smart phones an integral part of the corporate infrastructure," said Val Rahmani, general manager at IBM wireless. "Enterprises can then extend critical applications out to their mobile workforce."
The first product to feature the software will be Nokia's 9210 Communicator, but subsequent partners will include Motorola, Psion, Sony and Siemens. "Because of Symbian's presence in the market, the software will go out to 70 per cent of smart phones being developed today," said Rahmani.
Intel will use IBM's embedded software in its Personal Internet Client Architecture for wireless devices and Internet appliances. Big Blue will port the embedded version of its Everyplace software suite and device tools to the Intel StrongARM processor. All future processors based on Intel XScale micro architecture will carry the software.
"People must start building wireless into their strategies now. The vast majority of carriers are already turning to IBM. Vodafone has just agreed to sign up for our WebSphere," Rahmani said.
IBM has made these moves because it expects the wireless market to grow by half in the next 12 months and will be recruiting heavily in that period.
The company has 1500 employees worldwide working on wireless projects and intends to increase that number to between 4000 and 6000.
James Governor, senior analyst at Illuminata, said: "IBM often makes extreme market claims but this strategy looks good. It is keen to partner. Wireless is important to resellers because it is a services-led market and there will be definite turnover opportunities for those involved."
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