Funambol, the mobile open source software company, today announced the general availability release of Funambol v3. The announcement extends the company’s reach to the mass market and puts open source on a collision course with proprietary mobile email vendors in what some consider the next technology battlefield.
Funambol v3 provides mobile carriers with an open, cost-effective solution that can provide address book and calendar synchronization, and push email, for hundreds of millions of consumers with commodity cell phones. For enterprises, the new version helps cut costs as more of their workforces go mobile. The software also opens push email – long the domain of RIM BlackBerry — to a global community of open source developers, which the company expects will drive greater innovation and benefits for consumers.
“Mobile email for consumers hasn´t taken off because most consumers cannot afford the large monthly fees offered by the current players” said Fabrizio Capobianco, Funambol CEO. “We are combining open source and mobile email — which have enjoyed wild success in the corporate world — to help carriers eventually deliver low-cost push email on commodity handsets.”
Since its preview release earlier this year, the number of Funambol software downloads has doubled to 600,000, reflecting pent-up demand for mass market mobile applications. The software is being downloaded by a burgeoning community of developers that are testing it on a wide range of mobile devices all over the world. Carriers are increasingly interested in Funambol for its expected ability to reach the largely untapped market for consumer push email.
“Over 500 million people have an email account and most of them have a cell phone, but only 1% are currently managing their contacts, calendars and email with their wireless handset,” said J. Gerry Purdy, Ph.D, VP and Chief Analyst for Mobile and Wireless at Frost & Sullivan. “Funambol´s open source solution provides a low cost offering for a large part of the underserved market.”
Funambol v3 is available in Carrier, Community (open source) and Network (for enterprises) Editions. All editions provide over-the-air synchronization of contacts, calendars, to-do lists and other Personal Information Management (PIM) data. They also provide push email capabilities for sending, receiving and forwarding email, and allow users to open attachments, check email online and offline, and accept or decline meeting events. Each edition also delivers specific benefits for specific users.