Italian firm Funambol gets vocal about self-titled project Funambol, formerly known as Sync4j, the project's birth name circa 2001. Now the largest open source mobile project, Funambol nears the one million downloads mark and is compatible with approximately 75% of mobile phones sold worldwide -- hardly a laughable feat -- and is in active production and evolution in over 5 continents.
Why does Funambol wield so much clout? Because they've kept their eyes on the core of their project -- modularity -- and haven't veered in the years since."When you have a billion phones that change every quarter and behave differently depending on location and mobile operator, device testing and compatibility is the killer factor," says Funambol CEO Fabrizio Capobianco in an interview with Roberto Galoppini. "In mobile, there is no automated testing but there are a billion devices to be tested [...] You need people in every country of the world. To create a BlackBerry solution for the masses, the only option is a distributed community effort. Open Source is the only viable alternative to BlackBerry and Microsoft, when it comes to the consumer market."
Funambol contains the following:
* Data Synchronization, a mobile application server that synchronizes for wireless clients and PC's, as well as push e-mail
* Device Management, an OMA DM server that manages mobile devices from a remote location
* Funambol Connectors: streamlined access to file systems, e-mail, databases, and applications for two-way synchronization with data assets already in place
* Client Plug-ins: stock clients and extenders for BlackBerry, Outlook, Windows Mobile, iPod and Palm. Users may sync e-mail and PIM data with the server
* Software Development Kit: do-all tools to assist in developing sometimes-connected mobile applications on devices in J2SE and J2ME (Java) and C++, and add data sources to the server
In essence, the Funambol application server purveys push e-mail and PIM data synchronization but acts primarily as a near-universal development platform for mobile apps. It's best for developers seeking to create mobile applications or create a mobile-friendly variation of an existing product.
To efficiently support a variety of developer needs, there are three working editions. The Community Edition enables enterprises to mobilize their users, granting company-wide push e-mail and PIM synchronization. Community can be implemented by IT people in the enterprise who are able to tweak it as they see fit, or via ISV who bundles the project with their own offerings, or through ASP, who offer it as a service.
The Carrier Edition suits mobile operators who want to provide the contacts/calendar backup, push e-mail and sync functions to their existing consumers. This version has a commercial license and has features specific to mobile operators.
Finally, the Network edition provides tech support and software updates for a low subscription fee.
With these three offerings Funambol layers users on a needs basis, making the OS process suitable for a project that must remain both modular but mutable, open to the leaps and bounds of a developer's imagination.
Based in California's Silicon Valley and listed among the top 100 companies in America according to Red Herring in 2006, Funambol the company courted US Venture Capitalists to raise funds for the Italian concept, whose primary development team resides in Pavia, Italy. In 2006 Sync4j, changed its project name to match the company.
Read more about Funambol at www.funambol.com
and check out Capobianco's interview with Roberto Galoppini here