Nokia is looking to boost mobile e-mail within the enterprise with a new release of its Intellisync software and several new handsets.

The new products could help Nokia better compete with Microsoft, which has just introduced the latest version of its mobile phone software, Windows Mobile 6.0.

Nokia sees huge potential in the business user. "Soon, half the population of the world will use a mobile phone, yet the mobile phone is still considered a privilege if you're working in a company," said Antti Vasara, senior vice president of mobile devices in Nokia's enterprise solutions group.

Fewer than 10 percent of employees in the enterprise use mobile email, he said, leaving large potential for growth. Intellisync Mobile Suite 8.0 could help drive that growth, Nokia said.

The new release is designed to make it easier and more affordable to extend mobile email beyond the executive suite and travelling sales staff, said Vasala.

Nokia's Intellisync platform allows phone users to send and receive corporate email on their phones and sync information like calendar and contacts with their enterprise data. It also helps administrators manage and secure mobile access.

Users now have flexible options for deployment, including fully hosted or partially hosted service. In addition, an enterprise can choose to enable an entry-level service that lets users read, compose and delete e-mails and manage local folders. The professional service includes other features such as attachment handling and personal information synchronization.

Intellisync is compatible with Symbian, Windows Mobile, Palm and some lower-end Java-based phones.

Nokia plans to make Intellisync compatible with Windows Vista, the newest version of Microsoft's PC operating system, but did not say when.

In addition to the new release of Intellisync, Nokia introduced a few new phones aimed at business users. The E90 is the latest version of the Communicator, the phone that flips open to reveal a full keyboard and four-inch screen. The E90 will use Nokia's S60 software platform, unlike previous Communicator versions which used the S80 platform. It includes new capabilities such as an MP3 player, FM radio and a video player. It also includes a still camera, video camera, Wi-Fi and GPS (Global Positioning System).

Nokia also announced the E61i, a new version of that phone that is thinner than before and, claimed Nokia, offers advanced e-mail attachment handling. The E65 is another new phone in Nokia's range of business handsets, with a slider to reveal the keyboard.