June 9, 1998 1:30 PM PDT

Oracle plans database to go

Oracle is already a big name in massive database servers running on powerful computers.

Now the company wants to make a name for itself in the market for scaled-down servers intended for handheld PCs.

Next week at PC Expo in New York City, Oracle will announce a deal with 3Com to jointly hawk technology to link 3Com's PalmPilot and Palm III handheld PCs to Oracle's databases.

The companies plan to introduce technology that will let Palm III and PalmPilot users take a snapshot of corporate databases with them on sales calls, for instance. New information can be added to the database and synchronized with corporate database servers at the end of the day.

The first product expected from the alliance will be a development kit, set to enter beta testing this month, that will allow developers to build links between Palm III and PalmPilot applications and Oracle's database running on laptops and PCs. The development kit, which will also include Oracle's Oracle Lite mobile database, will cost $169 when it ships in August.

Later, Oracle plans to ship a version of Oracle Lite that will run on Palm III and PalmPilot handhelds. That product won't debut until the first quarter of 1999, said Denise Lahey, vice president of embedded database technologies at Oracle.

Oracle and Sybase are making a concerted effort to increase their presence in the mobile and embedded database market, which is one of the few growth areas for database makers.

Oracle is already beta testing a version of Oracle Lite for Windows CE, Microsoft's lightweight version of Windows for handhelds and other consumer electronics systems.

Sybase said it plans to develop what it terms a small "fingerprint" version of its Adaptive Server Anywhere database intended for Windows CE-based mobile devices.


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