W3C Launches "Mobile Web Initiative"

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Industry Leaders Join Effort to Improve Mobile Web User Experience



Chiba, Japan -- 11 May 2005 -- Today, at the WWW2005 Conference, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) announced the launch of the Mobile Web Initiative (MWI) - an endeavor to make Web access from a mobile device as simple, easy, and convenient as Web access from a desktop device.

"Mobile access to the Web has been a second class experience for far too long," explained Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director. "MWI recognizes the mobile device as a first class participant, and will produce materials to help developers make the mobile Web experience worthwhile. "

Potential of Mobile Devices on the Web Not Yet Realized

Many of today's mobile devices already feature Web browsers and the demand for mobile devices continues to grow. Despite these trends, browsing the Web from a mobile device -- for example, to find product information, consult timetables, check email, transfer money -- has not become as convenient as expected. Users often find that their favorite Web sites are not accessible or not as easy to use on their mobile phone as on their desktop computer. Content providers have difficulties building Web sites that work well on all types and configurations of mobile phones offering Web access.

W3C has launched the Mobile Web Initiative to make browsing the Web from mobile devices a reality.

W3C Takes Action to Accelerate and Improve Mobile Web Experience

Mobile Web Initiative participants will initially focus on two areas: best practices and mobile device descriptions. The Mobile Web Best Practices Working Group is chartered to develop authoring guidelines, checklists and best practices to help content providers to develop Web content that works well on mobile devices. The Device Description Working Group is chartered to address the development of improved device description solutions, that is, a database of descriptions that can be used by content authors to adapt their content to a particular device.

W3C is already active in the mobile Web space, developing Web standards for multimodal interaction and device-independent design, as well as profiles for mobile devices; related standards include XHTML, SVG Mobile Profiles, and the SMIL Basic Profile. MWI work will complement these current efforts.

Sponsors, Participants Include Industry Leaders in Mobile and Web Technologies

W3C Members France Telecom, HP, MobileAware, Segala M Test, Vodafone, and Volantis have stepped forward as Founding Sponsors of the Mobile Web Initiative. MWI Founding Sponsors enjoy unique benefits, including a seat on the MWI Steering Committee, the group that will set the direction of the MWI and propose new work. All W3C Members are eligible to become MWI Founding Sponsors until 1 July 2005.

Efforts to Be Coordinated with Relevant Organizations

The MWI is chartered to establish cooperative ties with related groups, including the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) and 3GPP. These ties will help ensure that the needs of users are well-defined and that the efforts of the MWI and these related groups are complementary.

About the World Wide Web Consortium [W3C]

The W3C was created to lead the Web to its full potential by developing common protocols that promote its evolution and ensure its interoperability. It is an international industry consortium jointly run by the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) in the USA, the European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics (ERCIM) headquartered in France and Keio University in Japan. Services provided by the Consortium include: a repository of information about the World Wide Web for developers and users, and various prototype and sample applications to demonstrate use of new technology. More than 350 organizations are Members of W3C. To learn more, see http://www.w3.org/


Contact Americas and Australia --
Janet Daly, <janet@w3.org>, +1.617.253.5884
Contact Europe, Africa and Middle East --
Marie-Claire Forgue, <mcf@w3.org>, +33.492.38.75.94 or +81 90 12 08 04 57
Contact Asia --
Yasuyuki Hirakawa <chibao@w3.org>, +81.466.49.1170

Testimonials for W3C's Mobile Web Initiative (MWI)

Testimonials from MWI Founding Sponsors.

HP | MobileAware | Segala M Test | Vodafone | Volantis


HP has been a strong supporter of the W3C for the past decade. We are firmly committed to the goal of building robust platforms based on open standards and are pleased to be a founding supporter of this Mobile Web Initiative. We believe the MWI will accelerate the development of rich media content services and will be a catalyst for the next generation of engaging communications experiences. MWI will cause the creation and adoption of a merged set of technologies for today's fixed and mobile content systems and delivery platforms. This is an essential step in the evolution of the World Wide Web. We expect to see a rapid innovation cycle based on MWI contributions to the convergence of fixed and mobile domains.

-- Evan Smouse, Director of Strategic Technology, Hewlett-Packard


MobileAware, as a sponsor of the Mobile Web Initiative and leading innovator in mobile business solutions, welcomes the launch of this Initiative by the W3C. This reflects an important moment in the evolution of the Web. It brings together the key mobile players in a forum where expertise and experience can be shared; ultimately leading to a Web that spans the globe for everyone on any Web-enabled device. MobileAware is proud to be invited to be part of this significant initiative and commends the W3C for its vision.

-- Kevin McCloskey, Chief Executive Officer, MobileAware

Segala M Test

Segala wholeheartedly welcomes the launch of the W3C Mobile Web Initiative. As a pioneer in Web accessibility conformance certification and a specialist in mobile testing, Segala is ideally placed to champion the harmonisation of access to the Web irrespective of device, location and ability. Moreover, as the first testing specialist worldwide to become an Associate member of the GSM Association, Segala is keen to help drive this initiative, working more closely with all the interested parties to achieve the goals of the MWI.

-- Paul Walsh, CEO, Segala M Test


Vodafone welcomes this initiative from the W3C to bring the benefits of the Web to mobile phone customers. Vodafone is pleased to be a founding sponsor and are committed to the success of platforms based on open standards. We hope the outputs of the Mobile Web Initiative will help enable our 150 million customers access a diversity of valuable services.

-- Reinhard Kreft, Director Industry Relations, Vodafone


As a leading supplier of Intelligent Content Adaptation solutions to the mobile industry, Volantis is delighted to see the launch of the W3C Mobile Web Initiative. The initiative recognizes the rapidly increasing importance of access to the web from mobile devices. Volantis looks forward to participating in the new initiative, an activity which complements its existing, closely-related work within the Device Independence Working Group.

-- Mark Watson, Chief Technology Officer, Volantis Systems Ltd.

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