Originally created 04/27/01

Companies to set specs for mobile messaging



AMSTERDAM, Netherlands - L.M. Ericsson Telephone, Nokia and Motorola on Thursday announced the creation of the Wireless Village initiative, a joint project established to define and promote a set of universal specifications for mobile instant-messaging and presence services.

The technology would enable users to send instant messages and subscribe to additional services on various devices, such as cell phones, pagers and PDAs (personal digital assistants), the companies said in a joint statement. Millions already use instant messaging on PCs connected to the Internet.

The Wireless Village initiative, chaired by Nokia's director of messaging, Frank Dawson, intends to deliver architectural, protocol and test specifications and tools for instant messaging and presence services by the end of this year. The initiative is open to participation from the industry.

Though the mobile services would have capabilities similar to those offered on a PC, the creators of the Wireless Village initiative envision phone users paying for most of the functionality. Users will be able to subscribe to presence services, such as a listing of which friends are currently online, a key function of instant messaging services on the PC.

"The presence service is really value-added and unique in the mobile environment," said Nokia spokesman Jyrki Rosenberg. "In the mobile sphere it is more relevant than in the PC environment to know whether somebody is available or busy. The presence service will open up a new market and could also be linked with other services, like calendars."

Services based on the new specification can be offered on 3G (third-generation) mobile networks and on present-day, second-generation and so-called 2.5G networks, the companies said.

"The user will get a richer service on more advanced networks," said Rosenberg.

The service would enable users to participate in private or public chat rooms and would include security capabilities for user authentication, secure message transfer and access control, the companies said.

Ultimately, network operators would be able to provide meeting and conferencing services with shared content. Services based on the new specification could be offered on third-generation mobile networks as well as current networks, the companies said.