COMDEX: Open Mobile Alliance releases wireless specs

LAS VEGAS – The Open Mobile Alliance (OMA), a standards body for the mobile phone and wireless computing industry, has introduced eight new technical specifications for mobile data applications in the first phase of a three-phase release program, the group announced late Tuesday at the Comdex trade show in Las Vegas.

If followed by all players, the specifications could allow developers, for instance, to write applications once and deploy them seamlessly across a plethora of devices, including cell phones, handhelds and other wireless devices, and across networks worldwide, OMA said in a statement.

The release includes eight specifications, or enablers as the alliance calls them, for mobile browsing, MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service), DRM (digital rights management), DNS (Domain Name Server) lookup via mobile devices, mobile content download, e-mail push notifications, user/device profiles and IMPS (Instant Messaging and Presence Services), the alliance said in a statement.

With the release of the Version 1.0 specifications, OMA has completed the first of its three-phase strategy, a spokesperson said. The next phase is for the specifications to pass interoperability tests. The final phase is an interoperability release, confirming that all specifications have passed end-to-end tests.

The IMPS specification has already passed interoperability tests, according to the alliance.

The first devices supporting the new specifications are expected by mid-2003, the spokesperson said.

None of OMA’s members, currently around 300, are forced to implement the new standards, according to the spokesperson. “This is purely voluntary,” she said.

At the Comdex show, the alliance said it has also completed the integration of several other industry groups, including the Location Interoperability Forum (LIF), the MMS Interoperability Group (MMS-IOP), the SyncML Initiative and the Wireless Village Initiative.

The Mobile Wireless Internet Forum (MWIF) and the Mobile Games Interoperability Forum (MGIF) have also announced their intention to join OMA, the alliance said.

The WAP Forum has already merged with OMA.

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