Intel buys OpenHand in netbook move

Chip firm Intel told financial analysts yesterday that it had bought a firm called OpenHand, a startup that produces technology to share corporate data on cell phones and other mobile devices, including Atom-based Netbooks.

No details of how much Intel paid for the company are available, but the firm provides the ability to share corporate data including calendars, contacts, file access and email. According to the OpenHand web site, its functionality includes Server Side Forwarding which lets people send documents on corporate servers by using a mobile gizmo for “fractions of a penny”.

The firm also claims that OpenHand is compatible with over 400 Windows Mobile and Symbian S60 devices. Each user has an individual rather than a corporate licence and this includes a Windows client for notebooks or, we guess netbooks.

The software is compatible with Exchange, Lotus Notes and Communigate Servers.

Yesterday, CEO Paul Otellini refused to comment on the fine the European Union is expected to levy on Intel today. However, senior executives at the company did comment on sales of PCs and netbooks and confirmed plans to release an ultra thin reference design for notebooks which would bring in more margin than its Atom “netbook” designs.

However, the company said that large companies and organisations were still reluctant to spend money on new PCs and notebooks, and sales were being driven by consumers.  Senior VP Sean Maloney, who told me this time last year that Intel was a little worried by the Atom cannibalizing its notebook sales, claimed that netbooks are a new market which aren’t hurting the higher margin chips.