Notes push e-mail coming to iPhone

IBM is using ActiveSync to push Notes e-mail, calendar items and contacts to iPhones

The newest version of Lotus Notes and Domino will push e-mail, contacts and calendar items to iPhone users.

Lotus Notes and Domino 8.5.1 includes a few other incremental updates to functionality. But the main new feature is the addition of Microsoft's ActiveSync protocol in Lotus Notes Traveler, the software that supports replication of Notes e-mail, calendars and contacts to smartphones.

IPhone users today can check their Notes e-mail through an optimized Web site. However, they must refresh to get new messages. "Web-based access has been good," said Ed Brill, director of end-user messaging and collaboration for IBM Lotus software. "But push e-mail is something people wanted."

Early last year, Apple licensed ActiveSync so that businesses could push their corporate Exchange e-mail messages to iPhones. Since the ActiveSync client is already embedded in the iPhone, adding ActiveSync to the Traveler product was a good way to enable push Notes e-mail to the iPhone, he said.

Launched for 600 beta users on Tuesday, version 8.5.1 of Notes and Domino will become more widely available later this year. In a month or two, the update will be published on the Lotus Greenhouse test site, where anyone who registers can start using the software, Brill said. The full commercial release is scheduled for the second half of the year.

Users of other kinds of phones can already get Notes e-mail pushed to their phones. With the SyncML standard, Notes pushes e-mail to Windows Mobile and some Symbian devices.

Businesses can also push Notes e-mail to the iPhone using third-party products. Sybase iAnywhere, for example, supports push Notes e-mail on the iPhone through its Information Anywhere Suite. That offering launched in March and only supports e-mail, not calendar or contacts sync.

Earlier this year, IBM said it planned to support ActiveSync in order to push data to iPhones, but it didn't say when.

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