Could this be the birth of a technology that'll change everyone's lives?
Microsoft, Nokia, Vodafone, 3, the GSM Association, Hewlett-Packard, Orange, Samsung and Sun Microsystems all think it could!
In a newly formed joint venture, dot.mobile, the telecoms and computing titans will apply for a new top level internet domain dedicated to mobile telephony. The domain will rank alongside such familiar suffixes as .com and .org.
At the same time, dot.mobile will set-up a joint registration system, thereby creating billions of addresses accessible via mobiles. But Nokia's vp for strategic affairs Bill Plummer assures: "The intention is not to create a distinct mobile internet. It is to recognise that the mobile experience is different from the fixed [phoneline] experience, so this will be complementary to it."
Mike Wehrs, Microsoft's mobile standards director, cites as an example a restaurant.mobile URL that would access a website listing eateries in the immediate vicinity of a mobile device.
Another illustration: someone hosting their own website via their mobile device could alight from an aircraft and have their site registered on the local internet within seconds.
The partners have yet to adopt an exact suffix and ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), the US-based international body that administers the naming process, is not noted for speedy action.
The suffix application could take up to six months to get approval, after which dot.mobile will be set up in Ireland. Its international registrar services are expected to become operational by mid-2005.
Not every big player on the new media scene has leapt to join the putative goldrush, with IBM, Motorola and Cisco Systems among those waiting on the sidelines. However, dot.mobile expects a steady inflow of new partners during the fifteen months prior to launch.
Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff