Palm becomes a thin client for Outlook. Yes, over GPRS

by Guy Kewney | posted on 05 October 2004

The "thin client" approach to mobile phones is a scary one, because while it would be nice to have access to Outlook with just a pocket terminal, what happens if you lose the connection to the PC? Problem solved, says Sproqit. Carry a Palm and run Sproqit Personal Edition.

Guy Kewney

This software will be available this week, with an eval version downloadable from the Sproqit web site.

Exactly how satisfactory it will be, does rather depend where you are, though. The way it works, they say, is "exactly like a Citrix thin client; it sets up a link from a companion program to Outlook on your Palm hand-held, to a control link on your PC. The software on the desktop pushes down the display information, but it re-architects it to look like a Palm display - reduces graphics, reshapes it and so on."

It's a direct SSL link through the firewall, and so what you see on the Palm screen is what you would see if you were in front of the PC.

"But it also caches it on the PDA, so if you lose the connection, you can still work; it will send any data you create when the link is established."

The press announcement came with the usual analyst puff: "Mobile workers want wireless solutions that are easy to use and rich in function, even when disconnected. Companies want security, simple deployment, low-cost and broad application support," said Warren Wilson, analyst with Summit Strategies. "Sproqit's new thin-client offering meets all of these needs -- and may well shake up the mobile business-solutions market."

We'll give it a test. Let us know what you think.

Sproqit Personal Edition pricing starts at £8.00 per month and will be available both from the web site, and from November in the UK, "Sproqit Personal Edition will also ship on every palmOne Handspring Treo600, distributed through distributor Hugh Symons Mobile Computing."

That has to be slightly misleading. If Palm is not shipping the Cobalt-based Treo 650 by then, most observers will be amazed. Is this a way of disguising the fact that it will be bundled with the new Treo? or is it a way of shifting unsold stocks?

"We have been a tier one distributor of palmOne products since 1998 and have worked closely with the vendor ever since," said Andrew Baxendine, Commercial Director Hugh Symons Group. "The introduction of Sproqit's software into the market and specifically for the latest palmOne Handspring Treo 600 is a great asset for the user and the market. If you are looking for the full 'desktop experience' on your palmOne handheld then the Sproqit software is the ideal solution."

They aren't going to say, are they ...

Final puzzle: "Desktops running Windows XP, ME, NT, SP5, and 98 SE can use Sproqit Personal Edition to support devices running Palm OS 4.1.1 (Palm Tungsten W), Palm OS 5.2.1 (Treo 600), Pocket PC 2000, 2002, and 2003, Windows XP."

No, I don't know any way of running XP on a Palm ... and I haven't got time to ask.

What happens if you take Sproqit underground, Grommit? - You can discuss this article on our discussion board.