Corporate giants by the dozen teamed up in a Justice League sort of way to procure a new Internet domain specifically for mobile phone users. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) will provide the registry service for the new .mobi domain, even though nobody’s sure if we really need it.
But how do you say no to Microsoft, Nokia, the GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) Association, Vodafone Group, Ericsson, Samsung, Telefonica Moviles, and T-Mobile, especially when they’re all standing in front of you in their giant wireless tights?
To be launched early in 2006, the .mobi domain will be under the charge of mTLD Top Level Domain Ltd., of Dublin Ireland, who will release style guides, policies, and sample code for domain buyers.
Those orchestrating the domain’s creation said that the Internet is underused by mobile phone owners and that more needs to be done to encourage mobile Internet use. According to the GSM Association, only 12 to 14 percent of the 1.8 billion mobile users have ever accessed the Web from their phones.
(You know, I was just thinking we needed more people web-surfing while they drive. Good idea.)
By creating a domain that is mobile friendly (designed exclusively for mobile phone use), the companies hope that the number of businesses using the special domain and the number of people surfing the Internet with their phone will increase.
Currently, not all Internet destinations are coded correctly to be accessed by mobile phones. The new domain is aimed at making more of the web viewable.
"The issue we are trying to solve is that the average mobile user has mobile Internet access but doesn't know it or doesn't want to try it," said Rick Fant, a member of the board of mTLD.
"When you see .mobi at the end of a service, you know it's designed to work with a mobile device," he said.
Not everyone agrees that a whole new domain created specifically for mobile phones is the answer.
"The answer isn't having another extension; the answer is having more applications and more capabilities for supporting mobile devices," Gartner Group Research Vice President Phillip Redman told TechNewsWorld.
"They're assuming that anything that says mobi in it will work on your phone," he maintained, "which isn't necessarily the case because there are different browsers, different form factors of phone and different ways of interfacing."
Redman went on to predict that the .mobi domain would have little impact on the mobile Internet world.