Monday, May 19, 2008

What is iMode

iMode is a set of technologies that was developed by DoCoMo for its home turf, Japan. It's a service that makes use of a Telco’s existing data transmission services. On the basis of regular HTTP traffic over the internet, and of a specific HTML-like markup language, it allows mobile phone users equipped with special handsets to access textual, visual and interactive content. Functionally, it is very similar to the GSM association's ill-fated WAP, or to the more successful Live! service offered by Vodafone worldwide. It features an efficient micro-payment system, allowing content producers to levy small fees on some sections of their sites.
(Note: beyond iMode, most of the indications given in this article also apply to these other services and the competition, as well as to regular web access using other mobile platforms such as Opera on Symbian as featured on SonyEricsson's P910, or Palm One’s Treo handset and its mobile browser. The issue here is features and strategy, more than technology itself, which does differ.)
At this point, it is not sure at all that iMode will meet the same success in Europe or in the US as it has in Japan, for various reasons, including better billing methods, a much larger and consistent market, a huge offer, and DoCoMo's skill at creating a full ecosystem where many parties stand to benefit from the service. Japanese consumers seem to be very interested in data services, and content producers there have ensured that much interesting material is available. In Europe, no such takeoff has yet happened.
However, if it is successful, iMode will become another diffusion channel which web site owners will also need to serve. Being present on iMode is much more than just converting your site's technology or graphics. The difference in usage is radical, and the offer will need to adapt accordingly. In order to make the best of what iMode has to offer, web builders must be aware of the opportunities it creates as well as of its peculiarities.

Monday, May 5, 2008


The BlackBerry is a wireless handheld device introduced in 1999 which supports push e-mail, mobile telephone, text messaging, internet faxing, web browsing and other wireless information services. Developed by the Canadian company Research In Motion (RIM), it delivers information over the wireless data networks of mobile phone service companies.

BlackBerry first made headway in the marketplace by concentrating on e-mail. RIM currently offers BlackBerry e-mail service to non-BlackBerry devices, such as the Palm Treo, through the BlackBerry Connect software. The original BlackBerry device had a monochrome display, but all current models have color displays.

While including the usual PDA applications (address book, calendar, to-do lists, etc.) as well as telephone capabilities on newer models, the BlackBerry is primarily known for its ability to send and receive e-mail wherever it can access an atmosphere wireless network of certain cellular phone carriers. It has a built-in keyboard, optimized for "thumbing", the use of only the thumbs to type. System navigation is primarily accomplished by the trackwheel (or "thumbwheel"), a scrolling wheel with a "CLICK" function, located on the right side of the device. Newer models are now utilizing a trackball in the middle of the device as Research In Motion has moved from the trackwheel to the trackball. Some models (currently, those manufactured for use with Nextel, TELUS, and other iDEN networks) also incorporate a two-way radio. Some BlackBerry devices don't depend on mobile phone service coverage and are Wi-Fi compatible like similar handheld devices that are on the marketplace.

Modern BlackBerry handhelds incorporate an ARM 7 or 9 processor, while older BlackBerry 950 and 957 handhelds used Intel 80386 processors. The latest GSM BlackBerry models (8100 and 8700 series) have an Intel PXA901 312 MHz processor, 64 MB flash memory and 16 MB SDRAM. CDMA BlackBerries are based on Qualcomm MSM6x00 chipsets which also include the ARM 9-based processor and GSM 900/1800 roaming(as the case with the 8830). The devices are very popular with some businesses, where they are primarily used to provide e-mail access to roaming employees. To fully integrate the BlackBerry into a company's systems, the installation of BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) is required.

On April 11, 2007, RIM announced the number of BlackBerry subscribers had reached 8 million.