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Always with its eye on the prize, IBM (news, site) this week has made no secret that it intends to move into the mobile market the same way it has moved into the business analytics market.

Over the course of a few days, Big Blue has launched the beta of business collaboration software for the Android operating system, as well as a number of background support services for mobile enterprises including a new a software development laboratory in Mass.

Lotus Notes on Android

Given the potential of the mobile market, the only surprising thing here is that it has taken Big Blue this long to make the move -- tech analyst IDC estimates the global market will be about one billion users by the end of this year. 

The new Lotus Notes Traveler for Android aims to cut a slice of that market and while IBM hasn’t announced a definitive date for a full release, the beta can be downloaded by Lotus Notes customers. It provides two-way information sync between Lotus Domino and Android enabled mobile devices, or those with higher operation systems like Droid or Nexus One.

Of particular potential interest for business users, it will synchronize email, calendars and contacts using Notes Traveler enabling the view the data on Android 2.0 devices or higher. Future plans also include mobile support for Lotus Connections social software.

Android though, is not the only mobile platform that Lotus supports. Other platforms include Symbian, Windows Mobile Devices and the Apple iPhone and iPad. For more on the new beta see the video below.

IBM Mobile Developments

Behind the scenes, IBMs expectations of where this market is going is shown with the launch of new software and services that will support the development of its mobile strategy including mobile base station real-time management software and a software development laboratory.

The remote management software includes monitoring of power and air conditioning in IBM’s mobile base stations in addition to back-up software.

However, it is the software laboratory that best signals its mobile intentions. Operated by 3,400 employees, it will focus on the development of mobile computing.

With 100,000 Android mobile devices reportedly being activated every day, developments from IBM in this space are likely to come fast and furious. Watch this space.