Funambol, a provider of mobile 2.0 messaging software powered by open source, has released a free open source native app for Apple iPhone contact synchronization. The Funambol plug-in for iPhone synchronizes the iPhone’s address book with contacts from popular sources such as Yahoo! Mail, Gmail, Microsoft Outlook, GNOME Evolution and SyncML servers such as the Funambol server.
Until now, contact synchronization on the iPhone was possible only using a cable connected to a computer running iTunes. The new Funambol plug-in is the first open source native app for iPhone address book synchronization. Funambol provides two ways to wirelessly access contacts on your iPhone from Outlook, Web, and work email systems, and other sources: 1) a Safari browser web app for all users; and 2) a native app for developers and advanced users that have “jailbroken” their iPhone.
“In mobile, the open road is the only road. The pace of development must be rapid, the compatibility wide and the cost reasonable. Open networks and devices are on the rise and are transforming the mobile industry,” said Fabrizio Capobianco, CEO of Funambol, inthe press release. “The Funambol open source community has been operating at this pace for years and is delivering innovation that give people access to features they otherwise wouldn’t have.”
The Funambol iPhone plug-in was developed in large part by Patrick Ohly, a long-time member of the Funambol community. Demonstrating the full value of open source, he set out to develop a native iPhone sync solution. He upgraded SyncEvolution for the iPhone which provides the core syncing capabilities. Funambol adapted the plug-in’s user interface from its work with other mobile devices.
“Just as the cable physically ties the iPhone to a computer, the dependency on iTunes locks iPhone users into a specific platform. Because SyncML is a well-established, open standard for data synchronization, adding support for it to the iPhone was an obvious choice,” said Ohly in the press release. “Extending SyncEvolution was simple – the hard part was to figure out how the contact data on the iPhone could be accessed, due to the current lack of documentation. Hopefully, Apple’s SDK will fill that gap.”
Earlier this year, Funambol announced the availability of the first over-the-air (OTA) web-based contacts app for the iPhone. With the addition of this new native app for the iPhone, Funambol once again demonstrates the strength of the open source model. With the release of the Apple iPhone SDK in Q1, 2008, Funambol looks forward to extending the iPhone plug-in for capabilities such as calendar sync and push email.
Funambol provides open source-based mobile email, contacts and calendars for 1.5 billion mobile devices, including the iPhone, iPod, and phones from Nokia, Motorola, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, LG and other device manufacturers.
More info, screenshots and download link here.