Ericsson, IBM, Lotus, Oracle, Palm Computing and Symbian in joint initiative to foster Mobile Internet applications

Ericsson and fellow industry leaders IBM, Lotus, Oracle, Palm Computing and Symbian are joining forces in the GPRS Applications Alliance (GAA), a cross- industry initiative designed to serve as a catalyst in the advancement of applications based on the new mobile packet switching technology, GPRS.

GPRS (General Packet Radio Services) introduces packet data to mobile networks and is a first, vital step for GSM and TDMA operators in the evolution to 3G (third generation) mobile networks, enabling a range of new and enhanced services in a mobile environment.

The GAA was established in June with an open invitation to the industry, and has already performed valuable evaluations on a number of applications.

Ericsson is today announcing IBM, Lotus, Oracle, Palm Computing and Symbian as the initial participants in the GAA. This alliance is open to any organization interested in mobile communications, such as software developers, systems integrators, network operators and other infrastructure vendors as well as device manufacturers.

Ericsson is initially establishing two application centers; one in Silicon Valley, California, US and one in 'Mobile Valley', Kista near Stockholm, Sweden. The new centers provide a unique environment for end-to-end testing of GPRS applications.

"The commitment by these major players in the industry will certainly add value and help the rapid take-off of the Mobile Internet applications market," said Per Nordlöf, General Manager, Packet Switching Systems at Ericsson Network Operators. "GAA participants are able to test and verify end-to-end their Mobile Internet solutions and will be in a strong position to guide the further development of open standards for applications and services. Ericsson is involved from the infrastructure side and with its WAP-capable devices, Symbian's EPOC-based devices and other WAP phones and wireless information devices."

"IBM and Lotus are committed to extend our applications and services beyond the PC to a new generation of pervasive devices," said Mark Bregman, General Manager of IBM's Pervasive Computing Division. "GPRS is an important standard in the evolution of this process of freeing people from their desktops and allowing them to access their data anytime, anywhere. By allowing mobile users to be 'always connected' to the network at speeds they are accustomed to in the office or at home on a PC, GRPS will make using a wireless device for traditional data services, like e-mail and e-commerce, a more enjoyable and productive experience."

"Oracle is leading the way with innovative applications for mobile sales and field service, and we believe that GPRS will be a key enabler for future wireless solutions," said Mark Barrenechea, Senior Vice President, Oracle Customer Relationship Management Products. "Through our collaboration with Ericsson, Oracle is developing solutions that will enable mobile professionals to have access to customer information any time and anywhere. Critical data can be available, at their fingertips, through our applications that run on hand-held devices such as smart phones. This unlimited access to information is a key competitive advantage for today's e-businesses."

"Joining the GPRS Applications Alliance increases our global competitive advantage by ensuring that the Palm Computing@ platform, including licensees and developers, can leverage a cross-industry wireless standard," said Mark Bercow, Vice President of Strategic Alliances and Platform Development for Palm Computing, Inc. "GPRS fits into Palm Computing's focus on simplicity, connectivity and portability, while incorporating wireless capabilities for high speed networks."

"The GPRS Applications Alliance demonstrates growing evidence of consolidation in the wireless computing industry. As the leading wireless platform provider, Symbian provides licensees with a robust yet flexible solution allowing customization of user interfaces and applications," said Juha Christensen, Executive Vice President, Symbian. "Symbian provides, adopts and initiates standards that will drive the wireless data industry. This further enables the mobile user with compelling services and information, designed for the new, wireless network economy."

The GAA provides the Mobile Internet applications industry easy access to a range of services, including training, product verification, consulting and other information. All of these services will make operators, consultants and other relevant parties more competitive in the mobile data environment.

Visitors to the GAA home page, at have access to a content- rich directory of applications. Interested parties can register to participate in the GAA through on-line registration.

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