Releases No-cost 'lite' Mobile Application

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Hoping to drive customer retention, on Tuesday unveiled a mobile application that is available to all users at no charge. Mobile Lite is not as full-featured as the on-demand CRM (customer relationship management) vendor's full-fledged mobile application, which is included with an Unlimited subscription but costs an extra $50 per user per month for Professional and Enterprise edition subscribers.

For example, while Mobile Lite users can look at accounts and respond to leads, the application doesn't support custom objects.

"We look at mobile as another way to increase customer success and the proliferation and usage of our application," said Chuck Dietrich, vice president and general manager of mobile. Some customers may also choose to upgrade to the full version over time, he added.

Mobile Lite will initially support iPhone, BlackBerry and Windows Mobile devices, but despite's close ties to Google, Android support isn't yet available. is "working closely" with Google on that capability, according to Dietrich, but he declined to provide a release date. In any event, customers are primarily using the other mobile platforms, he said.

Overall, Mobile Lite is "a cool idea" and a good way to keep customers in the fold, but likely has a longer-term strategy in mind, said analyst Denis Pombriant, managing principal of Beagle Research.

"They're going to build up demand for mobile apps this way, and I suspect that down the road, they'll have some way to monetize that increased demand," Pombriant said.

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