This is the introduction to the document. See the DeviceDescriptionStructures overview.
The mobile handset market is very innovative and dynamic. As a result the user can choose between tons of devices made by different manufacturers, which most of them share common characteristics. As a result there is a tendency towards device grouping into families of devices. For example, we often talk about the 'Nokia Series 60' family devices or we talk about 'Smartphone devices'. When we talk about these families of devices we are always thinking in mobile handsets with common features. Device grouping is useful as provide a level of abstraction that avoids in thinking in specific models or particularities.
Device grouping is not only useful for abstraction purposes, but also in different situations regarding mobile web service development and deployment. This W3C Note describes these situations and establishes techniques, formalisms, technologies and API mechanisms useful when dealing with device grouping. The result of device grouping is always one or more family of devices that are useful in an specific context, application, organization, etc.
The MWI-DDWG group is chartered to define standard technology around device description suitable for content adaptation in the mobile web space. Individual device descriptions are useful as they provide information about a specific device. However, there are common situations where is required to perform adaptation tailored for different set of devices without a lot of effort from the developer.
For example, "The customer wants to include an extra link in a page for those devices that are Nokia Series 60". This kind of functionality is currently available in different content adaptation solutions in the commercial and open source space. The problem with the existing approaches is that none of them is standardized and as a result it is not feasible to share families of devices between different device description repositories. It would be desirable to define standard mechanisms and APIs that enable the definition of portable mechanisms for grouping devices.
This document defines these portable mechanisms and associated extended DDR APIs.
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