- By Jacqueline Emigh -
Samsung has now licensed HP's OpenMail, with plans to build a "unified communications" messaging server called Samsung Contact, as well as separate Linux, Windows and Web clients. Ultimately, the clients are targeted at integrated voice and data communications, calendaring, and PIM (personal information management) from a range of desktop and mobile devices.Unveiled together with the three clients at Comdex this week, Samsung's server will use standards like XML, J2EE and WAP to support PDAs along with PCs.
The Linux client for Samsung Contact will offer an easier user interface and much more functionality than the ill-fated Linux client for OpenMail, company officials said at a press conference in Las Vegas.
The news from Comdex follows an earlier move by HP to discontinue a well received but short-lived Linux client for OpenMail, a multiplatform mail server that works with a Microsoft Outlook-based client.
With the new client software, formerly codenamed Gemini, Samsung will also replace HP's previous pricing for OpenMail with a new model, says Stuart Barry, general manager, Unified Communications, for Samsung SDS.
Under the old model, HP offered free downloads of its Linux client over the Web. According to Barry, the downloads were quite popular among small companies with fewer than 50 users.
Under the future model, customers will pay for the client software, based on numbers of individual users. Details are still being worked out. "But companies with only six users will probably pay less than companies with 28 users, for instance," Barry says.
Samsung's new client software is targeted at use on either a standalone basis or with Contact or other messaging/communications platforms.
Un Sik Kamn, VP and e-Solution Division Manager, Samsung SDS, says that Samsung will also use the clients for ACUBE Enterprise Portal, its emerging portal for desktops and mobile devices.
Also at Comdex, Samsung and other OEMs are demoing new PDAs based on embedded Linux.
Samsung Contact will incorporate HP's "robust" middleware, and will be "fully compatible" with OpenMail 7.0, according to the company. "Most people won't want to rip out OpenMail," Barry says.
Samsung is looking at adding "incremental functionality" in four phases, over a three-year time span, said Richi Jennings, chief architect for Samsung Contact. The initial release of Contact, slated for the first half of 2002, will include the first versions of the new Linux, Windows and Web clients.
By 2004, Samsung expects to add support for voice over IP, as well as features for integrated management of voice and data communications.
With the OpenMail licensing move to Samsung, HP is simultaneously handing over development of applications based on its middleware, says Bill Russell, v.p. of HP's Software and Solutions Organization.