02 June 2005

The Battle of the PDA Formats

For those readers unaccustomed to the "intimate computing" industry, Good Technology is a software developer that supplies realtime access to MS Outlook features. Whatever you may think of MS Outlook, for a huge number of people it is email. It also has the calendar and alarm clock, which is the part I find useful. If you want to have the same Outlook account for emails, schedules, and so forth, then one way of organizing this is GoodLink. Currently, the main supplier of this bread-and-butter PDA application is Research In Motion (RIM), through Blackberry hardware and software

Good Tech has just won a contract with Cingular Wireless (CBR Online) under which Cingular customers will be able to use GoodLink software. This could possibly upset the balance of power between Blackberry and GoodLink.

Why should any reader care? I humbly submit that Blackberry and GoodLink are the two rival interfaces for intimate computers in most of the world, at this time. So far, the products have to offer the same functions to users, to the extent of being "invisible." Here's review of the Blackberry version. A rave, but notice the people at Vodaphone with whom the reviewer spoke on the phone hadn't even heard of Blackberry; "GoodLink" is more obscure a name than Blackberry. With emerging technologies, it's often the case that reviewers are blown away by everything, except for the implementation. Still, the point is that Blackberry (the software) earned its praise by being invisible; the user wants NOTHING between fingertip and MS Outlook.

That can't last. Sooner or later, the PDA/cell phone software is going to have to add functionality.

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