Funambol to develop mobile messaging app for Android

Will enable Android-powered mobiles to wirelessly sync up personal information management data with e-mail

Funambol, which makes an open source mobile application server, announced last week that it will be creating a mobile messaging system designed specifically for Google's Android platform.

According to Funambol, the application will enable Android-powered mobile devices to wirelessly sync up their personal information management (PIM) data with e-mail systems such as Gmail, Yahoo and AOL. The company also says that its application will be "the first major open source mobile messaging project for Android" and that it will collaborate with its open source community to develop the software. The company expects the first version of the PIM sync application to be out later this year, with refined versions appearing in 2008, when the first Android-powered devices are released to market.

Funambol's Android application will be the second contact synchronization application that the company has developed in concert with its open source community. Last month, the company announced that it had collaborated with its community to develop contact-syncing software for Apple's iPhone.

"Google Android can make a huge impact on the mobile business, like the iPhone, but in a very different way," says Funambol CEO Fabrizio Capobianco. "The iPhone had a beautiful interface but was closed and lacked a public SDK... Android is the opposite. It is the ultimate open SDK for mobile devices."

The Funambol application is the first announced open source contact synchronization software for the Android platform. Earlier this week, Google said that it would give out $10 million in prizes to the developers who create the best Android applications.

Since then, several application ideas have popped up on Google's Android Developers group, ranging from simple applications such as mobile phone calculators to more complex applications such as multiplayer online games. Among the more intriguing ideas are a Laser Tag-like first-person shooter game that would let players connect through Wi-Fi to "hunt" one another using mapping technology; a Facebook application that would automatically download updated contact information and profile pictures of your Facebook friends; and an application that would act as a personal journal by taking pictures and then time-stamping them and posting them in real time to your personal blog.

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Brad Reed

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