Sproqit, a mobile e-mail product which takes a different approach to Blackberry and its rivals, has moved into a multi-user version which might get it into the good books of IT managers. Systems integrator Unisys has endorsed the approach.

Sproqit does not synchronise with a dedicated mobile e-mail server, like BlackBerry, and other remote e-mail systems; instead, a thin client on the handheld device accesses the user's actual office in-tray. The Personal Edition (reviewed here) achieved this by creating a direct connection to the user's PC, which had to be left permanently on. This was fine for an individual, but created security and other issues in multi-user offices.

Sproqit's Workgroup Edition uses an agent on a PC behind the company firewall to manage connections to the Exchange e-mail server for up to fifty users on the road, as well as giving access to other in-house network resources. The software costs a one-off licence fee of €849 for five users, with others users added in ones, fives or tens.

"There are no monthly fees," said Kevin Green, head of business development EMEA at Sproqit, "and the agent looks more or less the same as the Personal Edition, so users can try the concept out with Personal Edition."

Although Sproqit wants to compete in the "push e-mail" market, push e-mail is only a by-product of its thin-client architecture, said Green. He expects Unisys and other potential partners to "Sproqitise" other business applications.

“Sproqit solutions give secure access to business applications across a variety of network connections from dial-up to 2.5G/3G,” said Andy Jordan, EMEA Marketing Manager, Unisys. “It also enables the development of feature-rich palm top applications."