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Delivering Content to Handhelds

Content delivery depends on a handheld device's network connection, speed and security, and the type and volume of the content. Pushing a product brief with high-resolution graphics or a software update to a handheld requires more bandwidth than sending a new calendar entry or an e-mail message.

So how do you get enterprise content to PDAs and other handhelds? The answer is to pull and push: Have your customers or clients pull Web pages for purchasing specific products or obtaining service and support, while your organization pushes content to employees and partners who need up-to-date information to sell your products and services or support them in the field. Use mobile application-development tools (such as AppForge's Mobile VB and Antenna Software's A3) to configure your applications to deliver mobile content, and use a content-delivery package.

Keep It Simple

Make sure your users' handheld devices can support push and pull delivery. Although many PDAs come with enhanced resolution, strong processing power and plenty of memory, some still suffer from low-bandwidth connections (28.8 Kbps in some cases), small screens, limited memory and an awkward stylus input method. Some don't even have color displays.

Because handheld devices clearly weren't made for aimlessly surfing the Internet but for getting specific information--driving directions, stock quotes, sales data, support for a system problem at a remote site--you don't want to reproduce your entire Web site for them. Use Web site analysis tools to determine the type of content that different handheld browsers and operating systems require, then prioritize and format that content to fit the target applications and devices. Whether it's an HTML page or XML output from a back-end data repository, deliver the package in small windows and format it to display in tight spaces.

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