Isode Improves Consumer Email Access on Cell Phones

Many consumers and prosumers use POP email services provided by their ISPs or webmail services such as Hotmail and MSN. Finding out if new email has arrived requires them to check their mailboxes. Many users of these services would like proactive notification of email, the way you have on BlackBerry.

Isode's Mobile Email Gateway is a server product for ISPs and mobile operators that lets their customers receive such notifications using the IMAP-IDLE open standard. In most cases this can be achieved without investing in a new mobile device.

Technology Summary

  • Gateway automatically downloads email from the consumer service using POP.
  • Notifications sent to handheld device using IMAP-IDLE.
  • Works with any handset supporting IMAP-IDLE -- see here for partial list. There are many such handsets.
  • User replies to email via IMAP client on the handheld, or via Web browser for webmail accounts.


The gateway is sold as a "plugin" to an existing email infrastructure or as part of a complete email messaging solution. Plugin pricing:

  • Up to 100 mailboxes: $3,000
  • Up to 1,000 mailboxes: $6,000
  • Up to 10,000 mailboxes: $23,000
  • Up to 100,000 mailboxes: $60,000
  • Up to 1,000,000 mailboxes: $300,000

Competition; Isode Strengths as Perceived by Isode

  • Synchronica; gateway only, no complete email messaging solution.
  • RIM BlackBerry: expensive, uses the BlackBerry service and not that of the mobile operator, weakens mobile operator brand.
  • Windows Mobile: Probably best for Exchange users to go the Microsoft path, with ActiveSync and Windows Mobile.

Company & Finances

  • Privately held, company doesn't disclose revenues.
  • Debt-free.
  • Originally founded early 1990s; was sold and bought back, relaunched 2002, profitable since 2002.
  • All financing by employees.
  • Profitable.
  • 24 employees.
  • Ferris Research estimates revenues at $3M/year.


  • Service providers don't like their networks simply being used to provide a data conduit; they get lower revenues, plus it facilitates churn. Isode's software provides a way they can add value.
  • Over the last 18 months, user interfaces for the IMAP-IDLE protocol -- i.e., new email notifications -- have become common on new cell phones. BlackBerry devices are the notable exceptions.

... David Ferris

One Comment

  1. Posted October 8, 2008 at 4:31 AM | Permalink

    Synchronica acquired AxisMobile – so now they have a full fledged email solution

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