A little known fact is that IBM claims its Lotus Notes email client was the first software interface to introduce the chiclet-shaped graphical icons now typically associated with the iPhone in the minds of most. Perhaps it is appropriate that IBM is now at last offering Lotus Notes in all its glory for the iPhone.
Lotus Notes Traveler Companion, Big Blue’s first application for the Apple iPhone App Store was announced yesterday at Lotusphere 2010, an IBM trade show. IBM describes the new product, stating, “If you want a mobile alternative to reading Domino-encrypted mail on your laptop, then this is the application for you. Encrypted mail will appear in your inbox with only a unique, secure link for the Companion application. After entering your Lotus Notes Traveler password, the mail will be displayed on your iPhone or iPod Touch, and then upon exit will leave no decrypted mail on the device — ensuring the security of your most sensitive corporate data. “
For now, a minor inconvenience is that the app requires a fixpack to Traveler 8.5.1 to manage your meetings. Still, that’s unlikely to damper the spirits much among Lotus Notes users, who have long hoped for an iPhone app.
Next up is Google’s Android OS, said IBM director of product management Ed Brill. He states that the new Google Nexus One “Google Phone” will be the first to get the secure email client app.
While new business apps like Lotus Notes may fuel some business users to push their companies to embrace the iPhone or Android phones, IBM also announced that it’s expanding its relationship with RIM, makers of the leading BlackBerry smart phones.
BlackBerry devices already have access to IBM’s Lotus Domino Server, via the BlackBerry Enterprise Server and BlackBerry Client product lines. They also recently received support for IBM’s business instant messaging client, Lotus SameTime.
Newly announced is an upcoming BlackBerry Lotus Quickr client (Quickr is a content sharing/collaboration software by IBM) and an improved IBM Lotus Connections Blackberry client, produced by RIM with the help of IBM. RIM will also internally be adopting Lotus Connections, a business-geared social networking suite.
Alistair Rennie, IBM’s new general manager for Lotus, says mobile accessibility is critical for the company’s business software offerings staying relevant. He states, “Mobile is not an ancillary plot anymore. It has pivoted to a fundamental way people will work.”