Sybase updates mobile app for iPad, Android

The Afaria Web console allows administrators to centrally manage mobile devices

Enterprise software vendor Sybase plans to update its mobile device enterprise management software, called Afaria, so it can work with iPads as well as with devices running Google's Android OS, the company announced Tuesday.

Administrators use the Afaria Web console to centrally manage mobile phones in an enterprise, allowing them to perform such tasks as resetting passwords, managing applications, configuring a device, and remotely killing a device lost by an employee.

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A feature pack due out in May for the current version of Afaria will "extend that control to the iPad," said Mark Jordan, senior product manager for Afaria.

Jordan said it did not take a great deal of effort on Sybase's part to extend support the iPad, given that Afaria already supports the iPhone. "Apple is pretty consistent in how it manages devices right now," he said.

While primarily designed for consumer use, the iPad has been eyed by enterprise software vendors as a potential work device.

Jordan said that the device, for instance, could work really well in medical centers, where doctors and nurses roam about the facilities. The iPad could be a light, easy-to-use, relatively inexpensive device used to collect and access information.

As with the iPhone, Apple will allow enterprise applications to be installed on the iPad. An organization would need to register with Apple, which will provide a certificate to digitally sign the application so that it could be run on the devices. The enterprise app would then have to be installed through a non-wireless connection, Jordan said.

Sybase is not alone in modifying products for the iPad. Citrix released versions of its Receiver client and GoToMeeting software programs for the iPad.

In addition to iPad support, this feature pack for Afaria will also include some basic management for Android-based devices. The initial capability will offer centralized password setting and remote device killing.

Jordan admitted that Google's control of Android is looser than Apple's control of the iPad, so Afaria can work only those devices that fully comply with Google's specification for enabling enterprise management features.

"Handset makers may or may not support some of functionality to certain degrees, but we're using standards-based approach," so if manufacturers support the standards, Afaria will support their devices, Jordan said.

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