< Contents ERCIM News No. 60, January 2005

Consensus among Mobile and Web Technology Leaders at W3C Mobile Web Initiative Workshop

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) hosted a Mobile Web Initiative Workshop on 18-19 November in Barcelona, Spain, colocated with a OMA (Open Mobile Alliance) meeting. The goal of this Mobile Web initiative is to make Web access from a mobile device as simple, easy and convenient as Web access from a desktop device.

Potential of Mobile Devices on the Web not yet Realized
Being able to access the wealth of information available on the Web from a mobile device is valuable in many day-to-day situations, eg when checking timetables, looking for product information, checking e-mail, transferring money or accessing a corporate Internet while traveling. Mobile Web access is considered to be a key enabler for mobile Internet services. However, even though many of today's mobile phones include Web browsers, accessing the Web from a mobile device has not become as popular as expected. Users often find that their favorite Web sites are not accessible or not as easy to use on their mobile phone as on their desktop device. Content providers have difficulties building Web sites that work well on all types and configurations of mobile phones offering Web access.

The Major Players Were There!
Over 40 position papers have been submitted by mobile and Web technology leaders from around the globe. These were operators (Vodafone, NTT DoCoMo, Orange/France Telecom, T-Mobile, etc.), browser vendors (ACCESS, Openwave, Opera, Obigo/Teleca, etc.), content providers (BBC, MSN, Yahoo!, etc.), authoring tool vendors (Adobe, etc.), mobile software vendors (HP, Oracle, PalmSource, Sun, etc.) and handset manufacturers (Nokia, RIM, SonyEricsson, etc.).

The workshop focussed on discussing the current challenges of 'mobile Web' access, and how to address them. Specifically, the participants discussed on developing of 'best practices' documents, providing support infrastructures for mobile developers, organizing training programs for Web content providers and creating validation and conformance testing services for Web-access from mobile devices.