Next generation i-mode arrives

A bank and two bookmakers were among the first to launch transactional web applications on O2's new platform, i-mode.

A bank and two bookmakers were among the first to launch transactional web applications on O2's new platform, i-mode.

Egg, Ladbrokes and Paddy Power were among organisations offering launch applications for network operator O2's i-mode platform. I-mode is a closed network for mobile phone users to access web pages written in CHTML, a compact version of HTML.

O2 bought the platform from one of Japan's big three mobile phone networks, NTT Docomo.

The applications launched by Egg and the two bookmakers enable consumers to check account balances and make simple transactions. The applications were developed in three months so that O2 could certify them before the service was launched.

O2's chief i-mode architect, Jack Minhas, said most of the effort was in preparation. "The actual coding is round about six weeks' work," he added.

Businesses can build their own applications using the public i-mode specification. Mobile content specialist Volantis recently introduced i-mode Express, a service for deploying mobile services on i-mode.

Senior analyst at Gartner, Stephanie Pittet, said, "We should expect more of this type of application."

I-mode applications will be available to users of both 2G and 3G phones on O2's network and the mobile company will be able to migrate existing customers easily to i-mode.

Companies that develop applications for i-mode will share the revenue they generate with O2, with the network operator getting 14% and the content provider 86%.

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