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Omni Mobile Client Limitations on Devices

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Omni Technology Solutions Inc.

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Posted: 7 Nov 2006
 

Omni Mobile, GroupWise Native Caching Client for GroupWise

Omni Mobile provides a common native GroupWise client interface for Windows Mobile, Pocket PC, Palm, Sony Ericsson, Nokia and BlackBerry devices (Q4, 2006). Limitations caused by each operating system can have a negative impact on administrator and user satisfaction with a particular platform. These limitations should be kept in mind when managing user expectations. Go to this related article for a full review of the factors to consider when choosing the best mobile platform for Omni Mobile. The Omni Mobile architecture and advantages of having a native GroupWise client (versus PIM synchronisation) compensate for specific operating system limitations:

Omni Mobile supports all major mobile platforms (including the BlackBerry in Q4 2006) from a single server installation.

Omni Mobile does not require an additional Windows server. The server modules install on your current GroupWise WebAccess server.

Omni Mobile provides access to GroupWise shared folders and shared address books.

Omni Mobile provides a separate GroupWise mobile caching client rather than just synchronizing email, calendar and address books to the device PIM applications. This allows Omni Mobile to have a GroupWise client look and feel and provide many of the GroupWise features that customers are expecting. Because it is a separate GroupWise mobile client, Omni Mobile will provide GroupWise specific features in future releases:
  • Online full account search
  • Online calendar busy search
  • Online proxy search
  • Full online proxy account access
  • Access to GroupWise query folders

Windows Mobile and Pocket PC Operating System Limitations

Based on feedback from our customers, the Windows Mobile and Pocket PC operating systems are the best platform for the advanced features of Omni Mobile for GroupWise. Windows Mobile and Pocket PC PDA devices and smart phones provide access to the full set of Omni Mobile features. These devices provide excellent access and performance with Omni Mobile and Omni Messenger for GroupWise.

The following phones are highly recommended:

Windows Mobile and Pocket PC devices provide the best attachment handling because of the native file system and built-in document readers. This is important because after your users get over the excitement of reading their email on their new mobile device, they will want to do "real" work with attachments and documents. The familiar Microsoft Windows Mobile interface experience makes for a quick and easy learning curve.

In general, touch-screen devices provide the quickest transition for non-technical users to adapt to a mobile platform, because the stylus replaces the mouse for navigation. Novice mobile users often find non-touch-screen devices difficult or frustrating until they have learned the navigation techniques to properly take advantage of the operating system features.

In contrast to Palm OS devices, Pocket PC and Windows Mobile phones can run multiple concurrent applications. This multi-tasking ability is important because it matches users' expectations to be able to do more than one thing at a time. They expect to be able to switch between reading an email and viewing an attachment while talking on the phone or switch between viewing an attachment, reading an email and viewing a web site. Multi-task functionality is also available on Symbian OS devices (Sony Ericsson and Nokia).

One of the features that is only available on the Windows Mobile and Pocket PC platform is the ability to dial phone numbers directly from GroupWise address books. With the other platforms, to dial from the GroupWise address books, the user highlights the row containing the number, copies the number, opens the phone application and pastes the number to be dialed.

Sony Ericsson and Nokia (Symbian Operating System) Limitations with Omni Mobile

Omni Mobile is not able to dial directly from Sony Ericsson UIQ or Nokia Symbian-based mobile devices. To dial a number from the GroupWise address books, the user highlights the row containing the number, selects copy, opens the phone application and pastes the number to be dialed.

Workstation client deployment, workstation account initialisation and over-the-air account initialisation are supported by Symbian OS devices. However, over-the-air client deployment is not supported with Symbian OS devices.

Palm Operating System Limitations with Omni Mobile

The Palm Operating System is a single-task operating system. This means that only one application can be active at a time on Palm OS devices. Most of the limitations experienced by Omni Mobile users on Palm OS devices are related to the single-task nature of the Palm operating system (Treo 700P, 650, 600, T5, etc.). Unlike the Windows Mobile, Pocket PC and Symbian operating systems, it is not possible to switch to a second application on a Palm while keeping the first application open. As soon as you launch an application on Palm OS devices, all other applications are closed.

Here are the basic limitations:

  • A user cannot review an email while talking on the phone, review an attachment while reading an email, access a web site while reading an email, or carry out any other combination of concurrent tasks. This behavior is related to the single-task nature of the Palm OS, and the limitation is the same for all applications on Palm OS devices.
  • Unlike the Windows Mobile and Pocket PC platform, it is not possible to dial phone numbers directly from GroupWise Address books by clicking the phone number. To dial a phone number from a GroupWise Address book, the user copies the phone number, starts the phone application and pastes the number in the phone number screen.
  • The Palm OS does not have a native file system. It is not possible to copy a document to a Palm OS device and access it without using an application like Documents to Go. Documents To Go is a workstation application that converts documents to a Palm OS-compatible format before the documents are synchronized with HotSync to the device. The Documents to Go reader must also be available on the Palm OS device. In many cases, the results of third-party integration with Documents to Go are not as satisfying as having a native application access the document or attachment directly.
  • To overcome part of the challenges in dealing with attachments on Palm OS devices, Omni Mobile provides three options to access attachments:
    1. Omni Mobile copies a URL to the clipboard, which can be used to view the converted HTML version in a browser. The on-line viewer takes advantage of the GroupWise WebAccess HTML document viewer.
    2. Omni Mobile copies a URL to the clipboard, which can be used to download the attachment using the device browser. The attachment is saved to an external memory card.
    3. Omni Mobile uses an internal download manager to download the attachment to an external memory card.

    Omni Mobile supports these three attachment management options on all mobile platforms:

    1. When Omni Mobile is not the active application, it is not possible for the "You have mail" notification to be received on Palm OS devices. This is caused by the single-task nature of the Palm OS.
    2. Activating the Key Guard with Palm OS devices causes all applications to be suspended. This means that Omni Mobile is not able to communicate with the Omni Mobile server module when the Key Guard button is enabled.
    3. Cradle-based installation and account initialization are available for Palm OS devices. Over-the-air account initialisation is available. Unlike the other operating systems, the Palm OS HotSync application does not provide a gateway that can be used for cradle-based communication to the server. All Omni Mobile synchronization occurs over the air for Palm OS devices.

    BlackBerry Limitations with Omni Mobile

    BlackBerry limitations with Omni Mobile will be published after Omni Mobile version 2.5 is available.

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