RealTime IT News

eBay Joins Mobile Fray

Following the lead of several Net industry giants, eBay Inc. Monday launched its own mobile Internet strategy.

The online auctioneer unveiled eBay Anywhere, a new mobile strategy geared to make eBay accessible from WAP mobile phones, handheld computers and personal digital assistants. To help ensure its presence in the mobile field, eBay has enlisted together leading technology companies, mobile carriers, portals and hardware vendors to join its Anywhere initiative.

In perhaps the most significant of its wireless relationships, eBay will rely on 2Roam to provide the enabling wireless technology platforms for this effort. 2Roam will format and deliver eBay's content for virtually any mobile device on any carrier network.

eBay's additional partners for the wireless play include Sprint PCS , AT&T Digital , OmniSky Corp., Phone.com and Oracle Mobile.

With Sprint PCS, customers will enjoy access to eBay via any of 15 Sprint PCS mobile phones. In conjunction with AT&T's newly-launched Digital PocketNet Service, eBay can be accessed via the new Ericsson R280LX or Mitsubishi Mobile Access T-250 mobile phones.

In its alliance with Phone.com, eBay and 2Roam utilized the Phone.com software developers kit to design the eBay mobile Web site and graphical user interface for mobile phones.

With OmniSky and Oracle, eBay has agreed to allow those firms' customers access to its content via OmniSky's Palm V wireless Net service and through Oracle's consumer wireless portal.

"Our aim is to make eBay accessible from any Internet-enabled device, be that the coolest new PDA from Palm or the latest Ericsson cell phone, over the Sprint PCS nationwide wireless network or AT&T's," said Brian Swette, eBay's chief operating officer. "By teaming up with these great companies, we're providing wireless access to our millions of users and allowing them to choose how they would like to access eBay while on the go."

Wireless technology has been rapidly gaining in popularity as dot-com executives are raving about its potential.

"To facilitate the ability for WAP-enabled portable devices to surf the Web, the glitz at Web sites will be removed by protocol filters, so only core information is downloaded," said Phil Asmundson, national communications practice director at Deloitte & Touches Technology & Communications Group in San Francisco.

"We will see Web sites morph at an incredible rate into multi-system interfaced services that subscribers will be able to interconnect through multiple platforms."