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Part: I SyncML Overview > SyncML: An Introduction

Chapter 2. SyncML: An Introduction

In the past few years we have observed a sustained growth in the use of mobile computers. Small handheld devices and mobile phones with data communication capabilities are already common. Mobile Personal Information Management (PIM) applications, such as calendars and address books, are commonplace and mobile business applications, such as inventory control, are emerging. For many mobile applications, the data on a handheld device corresponds to the data on a personal computer or a network server. As Chapter 1 explains, this data must be kept consistent using data synchronization. The basic process involved in this kind of data synchronization, including fundamental algorithms and data structures, is well known in the mobile computing community.

Synchronizing a handheld computer or a mobile phone with a personal computer is already popular. Applications on the Palm® and the PocketPC™ computers are synchronized with their counterparts on the personal computer. Such local synchronization is typically performed using serial communication over a cable or an infrared connection between the handheld device and the personal computer. Usually the same vendor writes the applications for the handheld device and the personal computer. The vendors also control the associated data synchronization protocols and data formats. This development model works fine in practice, because the set of applications is primarily limited to PIM applications, the data is associated with a single individual, the communication mechanism is predominantly serial, and the number of commercial handheld platforms is relatively small.


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