Open-Xchange's new mobile client has offline access

Mobile Web App uses HTML5 to provide offline access on Android and iOS

Open-source collaboration platform provider Open-Xchange has a released Mobile Web App, which gives smartphone users online and offline access to appointments, e-mails and contacts while on the road, the company said on Tuesday.

Open-Xchange sells an open-source alternative to Microsoft Exchange that can work with existing desktop clients on Windows and Mac OS X systems, and also with a number of mobile devices.

Its existing mobile application has been completely overhauled and rewritten in HTML5. It is a pure web application so there is no installation or download needed to use the app on a smartphone, according to Open-Xchange. Instead, users can add a bookmark to access the application, the company said.

Among the new features, users can place a call by clicking on a phone number in the Open-Xchange address book rather than the phone's address book.

The application uses HTML5 to provide an offline mode for the user. To do this, there are two different kinds of storage mechanisms, Open-Xchange writes on its website. The first option caches the whole application using the "HTML5 application cache". This will be done when the user accesses the app for the first time. After the initial download, all the data is stored locally on the smartphone.

The other option uses HMTL5's storage feature, and can use either session, local or database storage, depending on what the browser is compatible with. For the user there's no difference between the different storage modes, Open-Xchange writes.

The Mobile Web App runs on devices with a Webkit-based browser, including the iPhone, Android-based smartphones and the newest generation of BlackBerries, Open-Xchange said. It also works with Symbian S60 5th Edition -- preferably using Opera Mobile. Symbian's default browser in that version is simply too slow, the company said. The company plans compatibility with Windows Phone 7 in a future version, but made no mention of Symbian^3 compatibility.

Besides a compatible smartphone, Open-Xchange Server 6 is also needed, on-premises or in a version hosted by a service provider.

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Mikael Ricknäs

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