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Instant messaging hits the road.
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It wasn't so long ago that having your e-mail immediately forwarded to a wireless handheld seemed a bit excessive. But with so many people chatting over IM systems in the office, the time seems ripe for that still-more-timely messaging on the road as well.

Cingular Wireless Interactive Messaging PLUS lets you text chat on RIM BlackBerry 950 and 957 handhelds and Good Technology's G100 for $20 to $50 per month, depending on usage. PLUS operates independently of the e-mail, contact and other synchronization services from Good Technology and RIM, so you can stay in touch with colleagues even if your company's messaging server goes down. Alternatively, companies running any of several BlackBerry models over Lotus servers could choose IBM's Lotus Instant Messaging Everyplace 3 for a one-time fee of $45 per user.

With message logging, tracking and archiving even for messages to multiple recipients, both systems have a higher degree of accountability than many desktop IM systems. Messages in transit over Lotus IM happen to be protected by RIM's triple-DES encryption. But resource-challenged handhelds make a poor hacker target anyway, reassures Good Technology's group product manager Rick Osterloh. Both Good Technology and RIM have IM plans for Palm OS and Pocket PC handhelds and data networks other than Cingular's Mobitex.

Edition: May 2017

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