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Tech Leaders Back New Wireless Standard

IBM, Oracle, Sun, and others are backing Nokia's open mobile architecture, intended for developing mobile Internet software that will run on Java 2 Platform Enterprise Edition application servers.

A group of technology leaders say they are building standardized specifications for writing mobile Internet applications. BEA Systems, Borland Software, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Oracle, and Sun Microsystems are backing Nokia Corp.'s open mobile architecture, intended for developing mobile Internet software that will run on Java 2 Platform Enterprise Edition application servers.

Collaboration by server vendors is the second phase of Nokia's initiative. (The first phase, announced last month, involved multiple handset makers that will create Java-enabled cell phones.) Any standard the app-server vendors recommend will be presented to the appropriate standards ratification body, says Jose Tormo, director of HP's embedded and personal systems. "It's hard to make the decision about which application we will attempt to tackle, because sometimes when there are too many choices you end up making no decisions," says Tormo.

"We need mobile applications to look like land-line applications," says Farpoint Group analyst Craig Mathias. This group, particularly because it's led by a telecom heavyweight like Nokia, could move the industry down the line with a standard. People expect to have a somewhat comparable Internet experience on their mobile phones as they have on their PCs, Mathias says, and it's going to take development standards to make that happen.

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