NTT DoCoMo Inc., a Japanese mobile phone operator have signed an agreement to jointly deliver Macromedia Flash technology to i-mode, DoCoMo’s proprietary 2G/3G mobile Internet platform, in Japan.
First introduced in February 1999, i-mode offers wireless Web browsing and e-mail from mobile phones. More than 30 million people use smart phones and the Japan-wide i-mode infrastructure for mobile email and Internet access.
When using i-mode services, you don’t pay for the time you’re connected to a Web site or service, but are charged only according to the volume of data transmitted.
“i-mode is probably the world’s most used data service, and Flash adds a whole multimedia element to it,” Norm Meyrowitz, Macromedia’s president of products, told MacCentral. “And this is just the beginning. This is the first carrier service we’ve announced, but it’s a harbinger of other services we’ll be offering. You’ll be hearing a lot more from us.”
What’s more, many Flash authors in Japan use Macs to create content. The Macromedia-DoCoMo venture will be “great for their businesses,” Meyrowitz said.
Flash technology will be embedded into the new i-mode handsets, starting with the 505i series, which is scheduled for release later this year. Since content providers are already familiar with Flash for developing Web content and applications, NTT DoCoMo expects new dynamic content to be created for the i-mode service, which will further enhance the mobile-Internet user experience, according to Takeshi Natsuno, managing director of i-mode strategy at DoCoMo.
By incorporating Flash in its i-mode service, DoCoMo will provide i-mode users with access to a much broader range of rich content and applications, he added. Easy-to-use graphical interfaces will allow users to simply click on one screen to go directly to specific information, eliminating the need to navigate through multi-layered menus, Natsuno said.