Ten years ago, you probably had never even heard of it, but now you can't live without it-at least that's the bet of the companies racing to provide users with always-on e-mail delivered round-the-clock to wireless devices. "There definitely are users who want this," says Seamus McAteer, an analyst with Jupiter Communications. That's because those who sign up for pushed, wireless e-mail are never out of reach of customers, employees or anyone else who needs to contact them.
The big news is that Palm has jumped on this bandwagon. For the past year, all the buzz has swirled around RIM's BlackBerry, a pocket-sized device that works in most of the United States. BlackBerry runs on paging networks that were built for carrying data. That system has much wider coverage than do today's wireless voice networks. But now Palm wants in on the action.
That means two things: First, Palm is reconfiguring its wireless Palm VII to be always-on. Then, watch for monthly service fees-now about $40 per month-to tumble as the competition races to provide the service to entrepreneurs.
Robert McGarvey is the author of How to Dotcom.