I mentioned Marimba's software a while ago on my website talking about opportunities in the mobile market. Right now installing software on the Symbian is an error prone process and I think someone needs to come in and provide a Marimba-like solution for managing download, install and versioning of both native and Java applications on smartphones. It's an obvious hole it seems to me and someone needs to fill it.
Well, it looks like Marimba is actually doing it themselves - or at least taking steps in that direction, by announcing they are extending their "change management" offerings to Palm and PocketPC devices. From the ZD Wireless Supersite's article:
Although Marimba and the rest of the change management industry have taken hesitant steps to extend management to Palm Pilots and Pocket PCs, Marimba is more fully embracing management of such devices by extending its inventory, packaging, distribution and reporting functions to those devices.
The option, an add-on to its Desktop/Mobile Management offering, will allow an operator to auto-discover Pocket PCs and Palm Pilots through a companion PC. That capability allows IT managers to determine what devices are being used in the enterprise and by which users.
"You can do an inventory scan whenever you cradle your device. You can take a snapshot on a scheduled basis to see what's on a device and what's being installed," said Jeanne Morain, senior product manager at Marimba, in Mountain View, Calif.
Although managing such devices has not been a mandate for most enterprises, some pockets in such industries as health care, financial services, insurance and retail are beginning to roll out business applications that exploit handheld devices, Morain said.
Well, you can probably predict my thoughts on this: starting support now for two disappearing platforms is pretty dumb-ass. They should be targeting new wireless platforms such as Symbian - this is obvious to me. Secondly, according to the article, their servers can handle about 10,000 devices. That's too bad since I was sort of hoping for a consumer-based app in the future not just a corporate focused one. Something like this could be sold to telecoms so that they could provide customized high-end thick-client applications to all their customers and manage installs and updates centrally - but it would need to support millions of customers, not just 10s of thousands. Vodafone has already signed up a million Live! customers in what, six months?
Still, its neat to see Marimba making a play for this sort of thing... but they need to think WIRELESS... updates when syncing just don't cut it.