A Closer Look at the i-Mode

Recently i-mode was unleashed onto the Dutch and German markets. This internet service is hugely popular in Japan, where it connects over 30 million people to the internet through mobile phones. Read more to get to know its features and see two screenshots of the devices.The time of easy, fast and always online mobile internet services have finally arrived for Europeans. The theoretical GPRS speed of i-mode can be up to 115 kbps, over 10 times faster than on ordinary GSM networks. Services like online gaming, weather reports, news and web shopping are already available.
One of the best features is that people are now able to write and receive ordinary emails with up to 1000 characters next to currently popular SMS services on their phones. Ordinary attachments aren’t allowed however, though you can attach links to webservices which store your images. The currently provided i-mode service in Europe is able to display Interlaced/Transparent/Animated GIFs and Wireless Bitmaps in 256 colors.

Creating i-mode websites is child’s work for general webmasters, cHTML is the language used for i-mode websites stands for “Compact HTML” and uses most ordinary Tags already widely known. The European version of cHTML is called iHTML. One thing you need to keep in mind is that i-mode cannot display webpages larger than 10kB of memory, this includes images. This limit is currently used to make sure i-mode webpages load quickly and because you pay for the amount of data transfered. Most ordinary websites can be displayed as well, but for almost all such websites you would need to use conversion services like those provided by Google and imodecentral, which convert websites into smaller and more compatible pieces. Also therefore newly downloaded ring tones aren’t allowed to be larger than 10kb, but can actually be ordinary music or voices instead of just simple tunes.

The i-mode service provided in the Netherlands is currently cheaper than the one in Germany with regard to sending emails, as in Germany there are additional costs. The first i-mode enabled phone available for the European market is NEC’s N21i, which has a 120×160 resolution 256 color display. (Here‘s a 3D Flash presentation of the phone. Double click the phone to open its cover. And finally here are some i-mode screenshots). Toshiba will soon introduce a new i-mode enabled model in Europe as well. I-mode is a great step forward for the mobile phone industry and delivers its promise where WAP sadly failed.

Toshiba's Ts21i i-mode enable mobile phone NEC's N21i i-mode enabled mobile phone


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