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Wireless Village Releases Revised Specs

An industry group responsible for defining and promoting the interoperability of mobile instant messaging and presence services (IMPS) said it has successfully completed testing of its new specifications. The Wireless Village initiative has today released version 1.1 of its specifications, with updates from the 1.0 version released last February.

The 1.0 specifications are now being used for exchanging messages and presence information among mobile devices, mobile services and Internet-based instant messaging services. The new version 1.1 includes four primary features: presence, instant messaging, groups and shared content.

The interoperability testing was conducted between various mobile device clients and servers developed by several Wireless Village supporters based on the new specifications. The tests proves that the version 1.1 specs "create a solid foundation for universal interoperability of instant messaging and presence services between mobile and fixed networks," Wireless Village officials said.

"Implementing this global, open specification means that users all over the world will be able to take advantage of instant messaging and presence based services regardless of a specific operator or device manufacturer," said Frank Dawson, chairman of the Wireless Village initiative.

The Wireless Village Initiative was formed last April by Ericsson, Motorola, and Nokia to define and promote a set of universal specifications for mobile instant messaging and presence services.

The Wireless Village Initiative recently joined several other industry groups in forming the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA), which intends to create a single source for mobile Web service applications. Announced last month, the OMA is an extension of the open mobile architecture initiative supported by many in the mobile industry today, and is the result of a consolidation of the Open Mobile Architecture initiative and the WAP (wireless-application protocol) Forum. Also merging with the forum are the Location Interoperability Forum (LIF),the MMS Interoperability Group (MMS-IOP) and the SyncML Initiative.

"Combining our (version 1.1) specification and interoperability work within the Open Mobile Alliance means that we can expand the whole community for truly innovative solutions," Dawson also said.

The OMA will pool resources from all of the older wireless groups to create universal mobile application programming interfaces (APIs) on the Java framework. Wireless Village participants will make individual decisions on both joining the Open Mobile Alliance and contributing in the IMPS work as part of the consolidation process.

Already, two companies have announced interoperability between their products and the Wireless Village spec update. OZ Communications Inc. said its newly dubbed compliant products include the OZ Instant Communication Solution (ICS) server and client applications for Java-enabled mobile devices (J2ME) and Windows PCs. The OZ ICS server, available in the third quarter of this year, lets wireless operators capitalize on the growing need for mobile instant text messaging and presence services as demonstrated by the success of basic SMS messaging and wireline IM in the market.

The OZ client applications complement Wireless Village handsets, to be available from leading handset vendors this year, to enable end-to-end services across legacy and new devices such as Java powered mobile phones, smart phones and PDAs.

Other OZ client applications include 2-way SMS, SIM Toolkit, WAP, Pocket PC, Palm and Symbian, based on the needs of wireless operators.

Cupertino, Calif.-based Ecrio Inc., meantime, said its newly available end-to-end IM client and server solution is Wireless Village-compliant. Ecrio completed the WV1.1 compliance tests after successfully demonstrating interoperability between the Ecrio Rich Instant Messaging Platform, Ecrio Embedded Handset Software, and other Wireless Village member companies' server and emulated client software solutions.

Ecrio's Rich Instant Messaging Platform (ERIMP) flagship product enables the delivery of what it calls "AllMedia" -- handwritten notes, images, drawings, digital photos, images, voice, and documents -- across fixed and wireless networks in addition to the support of instant messaging and presence services.

Ecrio claims to be the first company to have its solution comply with a commercially available handset running on a global network.

Both OZ and Ecrio participated in the version 1.1 interoperability testing. Other companies involved with the trials included Comverse, Ericsson, Followap, Hotsip, Invertix, Logica, Motorola, Nokia and Openwave.

Bob Woods is the managing editor of InstantMessagingPlanet.