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(Nikkei BP Group)

(No.1 High-Tech News Site in Japanese)

  • NTT DoCoMo to Release Web Mobile Phone by Year-End
  • September 25, 1998 (TOKYO) -- Mobile telephone users will be able to retrieve Web information via their phones by the end of 1998, sources close to NTT Mobile Communications Network Inc. said.
    This type of mobile telephone will be equipped with Compact HTML developed by six Japanese companies including Access Co., Ltd. , a major software provider for home electronics appliances; NEC Corp.; Sony Corp.; Fujitsu Ltd.; Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd.; and Mitsubishi Electric Corp.

    Compact HTML is a subset of HTML. It was made by taking into consideration specific usage in portable telephones, which have more restrictions than PCs. As a first step, an Access browser called "Compact NetFront" corresponding to Compact HTML is due to be mounted on three or four types of mobile phones to be released by NTT Mobile (NTT DoCoMo) at the end of the year.

    Access has already succeeded in implementing its browser technology in multiple types of home electronics appliances. Many vendors are selling TV sets and word processing machines equipped with the NetFront browser made by Access.

    In addition, the software is in BrainPad TiPO PLUS, a personal digital assistant (PDA) of Seiko Instruments Inc.; Casiopeia A-60, a Windows CE machine of Casio Computer Co., Ltd.; and Internet PALDIO, an information terminal combined with the personal handyphone system (PHS) and PDA functions, released by NTT Personal Communications Network Group.

    A standard called wireless application protocol (WAP) is also being considered to be adopted as an Internet standard in the field of browsers for mobile phones. Technical aspects of Compact HTML and WAP standards are being studied by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), a body to diffuse and promote technologies related to the Internet.

    "It is still unknown if Compact HTML will be adopted by W3C. However, there is no denying that W3C will specify one subset of HTML for mobile devices," said company executive vice president Tomihisa Kamada. "I think WAP has a slim chance to be chosen as the standard, for it has no compatibility with HTML. But WAP is expected to be widely adopted in future, so W3C might decide how to convert the HTML subset to WAP."

    WAP-compliant equipment is due to be supplied by NTT DoCoMo as well as Cellular Telephone group and IDO Corp. NTT DoCoMo is going to support both methods. Companies are supporting both standards, because it is not clear which will be a defacto standard.

    (Nikkei Communications)

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    Updated: Thu Sep 24 18:19:07 1998 PDT