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IBM and Sharp Team on Enterprise--Class, Linux--Based Mobile Solution

Openness and Flexibility Key to Creating An Extensive Embedded Linux Deployment for the Enterprise Market

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ARMONK, NY & OSAKA, Japan - 15 Nov 2002: Building on the growing momentum in workforce mobility and corporate investment in Linux®, IBM® and Sharp Corporation today announced that they will bring together IBM software and Sharp technologies in a Linux--based mobile solution that makes it easier for businesses to extend enterprise applications to mobile workers. The new Enterprise Edition Zaurus™ ---- Sharp's Linux based PDA that works on a foundation of IBM's software -- will offer seamless, wireless access to a wide range of enterprise applications on an open, flexible platform.

Targeted at an increasingly mobile workforce in which connectivity and access to corporate information is crucial, the Enterprise Edition Zaurus will allow mobile employees to easily access databases to check inventory and order supplies, as well as manage e--mail, address book entries and calendars while on the road. It will also enable companies to access a wide range of applications from a variety of vendors. Sharp and IBM plan to support speech recognition and multi--modal capabilities in future editions.

The announcement creates new opportunities for companies to deploy applications more rapidly by using the flexible, open--standards based Linux and Java™ platforms. Companies will also have access to a rapidly expanding community of developers building applications that enable mobile access to enterprise data.

"As we move into the 'On Demand' age, companies need to access information, applications and services on their own terms -- when, where, and how they choose," said Rodney Adkins, General Manager, IBM Pervasive Computing Division. "Customers also expect new solutions and new devices to integrate seamlessly with their infrastructure. IBM and Sharp are working to leverage the flexibility of Linux and Java, tying together device technologies and solutions to help enterprises extend their infrastructure to make access simpler and interaction easier."

The collaboration with Sharp is a continuation of IBM's strategy to develop and deliver end--to--end pervasive computing solutions for enterprises and mobile workers across different platforms. The move also extends Sharp's larger corporate strategy to create an open standards Linux /Java platform with back--end support for various enterprise applications and databases including IBM's DB2®, as well as those from other vendors such as Microsoft®, Oracle® and Sybase®.

"Sharp is committed to delivering a new generation of mobile computing solutions to the enterprise customer that integrate world class hardware functionality with breakthrough software capability," according to Dr. Yoichi Sakai, Director and General Manager of Sharp's Communications Systems Group. "Sharp's vision is to extend the reach of the Zaurus Linux and Java--based OS platform to the mobile workers' everyday environment, seamlessly delivering critical data regardless of location."

Demonstrating IBM's growing momentum in pervasive computing and continued investment in Linux, IBM will provide end--to--end Linux and Java--based device infrastructure middleware that gives employees access to corporate applications, information, intranets and databases while they are in the field or on the move and also provides seamless connectivity. Solutions using the Enterprise Edition Zaurus will include IBM's WebSphere® Everyplace Access (WEA) and WebSphere Everyplace Connection Manager (WECM) middleware. In addition, IBM has a full range of open source--based development tools from the WebSphere Studio family. By using an open framework, developers have the flexibility to build and differentiate products regardless of platform, which in turn could reduce the time to market.

As one of the pioneers of handheld devices, Sharp has introduced innovative features to the mobile computing category, including an integrated sliding QWERTY keyboard, dual expansion slots (Compact Flash™ and SD/MMC), and an open standards Linux/Java application platform. Sharp has demonstrated the potential of this open standards platform by running Apache web server and mySQL database on the Zaurus, and will continue to optimize the Zaurus for mobile enterprise solutions and wireless connectivity.

This Enterprise Edition Zaurus is scheduled to be available by mid--2003 in the US, followed by rollouts to additional markets worldwide.

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