Take a look at this Flash demo of an Apple (AAPL) iPhone running corporate email mainstay Lotus Domino and Microsoft (MSFT) Exchange using Sybase (SY) technology. And this is without the benefits of the recently delivered SDK.
Not sure when this will be available (I expect quite soon). But it shows that iPhones can very rapidly be used for online/offline corporate email, with the corporate address book accessed via the iPhone's browser. So you won't have to depend on the local address book.
This demo has me jazzed to take the best of the iPhone UI and multiple network connections and jibe it with the best of corporate email. Could this be a Blackberry (RIMM) buster?
We won't know if the total cost of the Sybase iAnywhere plus email plus iPhone costs competes with the total cost of the Blackberry approach until Sybase announces. But it is nice to see more competition. Prices are bound to come down.
IT administrators will very soon have a number of choices on enabling their users to access email, address book and some calendar functions via the iPhone. This Sybase iAnywhere approach, which I first reported on last fall, handles both IBM (IBM) Lotus Notes/Domino and Microsoft Exchange for mobile delivery.
iAnywhere also delivers these email back-ends to many other mobile clients, too. So there may be plenty of different mobile endpoints in use -- though we know the panache the iPhone generates and therefore the iPhone is set for a place in the enterprise pantheon.
We know that soon Exchange support will come to iPhone via ActiveSync. But Lotus Notes email will need different support. Sybase will, no doubt, have the very large Lotus market in its sights when it makes the iPhone solution available.
I'm also curious what the experience will be if, as reported, we see a JVM on the iPhone, and perhaps an OSGi-based client that could make the iPhone a very cool end-point to all things Domino, including all those workflow apps. And the client would keep running no matter what other apps or tools the iPhone wanders into. Dropping app sessions when changing apps is a kind of downer for the iPhone with the current SDK.
So look for the Sybase foot to drop on availability and pricing on iPhone support to corporate email soon, especially Lotus email. It's good to have choice.