I started my career in the area of SAP CRM as an inhouse project member for a SAP Mobile Sales first customer shipment project in 1999.
SAP Mobile Sales was a brand-new tool then, developed by guys in Mannheim (Germany) and Bangalore (India), especially the former company of Kiefer & Veittinger which was bought by SAP at that time. This tool had its own local database, a Microsoft SQL Server, a local program called ConnTrans to communicate with the SAP CRM server and in this server a consolidated database (CDB) and a middleware. I really liked this tool and in 2001 I became a consultant for it and developed in and for this system until around 2008, even as some clients faced technical problems with this complicated and sensitive system landscape. At around 2007/2008 the tool was no longer really promoted by SAP and the focus was on the online PC UI and WebUI developed with normal ABAP OO. This also meant that I had learn this new technology as well, to do projects.
But even with UMTS and mobile internet the demand for offline tool was still there. The fieldforce needs an available system and sometimes they are in remote areas or not fully developed countries with no or very slow mobile internet. I have little information about Sybase as I skipped this technology but with SAP Mobile as well as with SAP Fiori there is always the question about offline support which seemingly will be provided by SAP in some ways. And there are still many other offline tools around, some Microsoft Excel based and some relying on 3rd party software. Just a few months ago a client of the pharmaceutical industry asked us if we have ideas to replace his self-developed Excel-based offline tool for the fieldforce.
So I think the story will go on and I will be interested to see which systems will come next and how SAP will address the needs of the customers in this area.