Wireless Operators Bond Together For Mobile Apps - InformationWeek

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7/1/2008
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Wireless Operators Bond Together For Mobile Apps

Known as BONDI, the initiative is backed by members of the Open Mobile Terminal Platform, which includes AT&T, T-Mobile, and Vodafone.

As smartphones proliferate and more consumers have mobile Internet access, mobile applications will become increasingly popular. But application developers face the challenge of having to develop for a wide range of devices, as well as security concerns.

With that in mind, a group of mobile operators Tuesday unveiled an initiative that seeks to create a standard and secure mobile Web service interface that can be used across multiple devices.

Known as BONDI, the initiative is backed by members of the Open Mobile Terminal Platform, or OMTP, which includes AT&T, T-Mobile, and Vodafone.

"Users have to be certain when they use the mobile Web that their privacy is paramount. The OMTP goal is to 'enable and protect' -- to enable fantastic new services while at the same time protecting the user," said Tim Raby, managing director of OMTP, in a statement.

The group said the new software will expose key handset features to Web developers to help them create feature-rich applications without the risk of fraudulent activities. For the wireless carriers, these potential applications could drive subscribers to use more data, thus increasing revenue.

"With so many diverse mobile devices and operating systems available in today's marketplace, it can be quite challenging to roll out consistent and compelling new services across such a broad spread," said Reinhard Kreft, Vodafone's head of standardization and industry engagements, in a statement. "BONDI addresses the need to deliver great services and across multiple platforms, whilst ensuring that customers are protected from any risk associated with adopting a more open approach to these systems."

OMTP did not say when it expected the software to be completed or what handsets it would support.

The move comes as mobile app competition heats up. Apple's iPhone application store is set to go live with the release of the iPhone 3G, and one analyst predicts it could soon be a $1.2 billion business. It will be battling applications from Windows Mobile, the open source Symbian, and Google's Android operating system.

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