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changing because some of the latest handsets released in 2008, such as
the SH905iTV from Sharp and Fujitsu's F905i, run Symbian OS v9.3.
NTT DoCoMo went a step further and created their own equivalent
of the S60 and UIQ platforms, called Mobile Oriented Applications
Platform (MOAP). 4 MOAP has variants for both Symbian OS and Linux-
based mobile phones. Again,
there are no MOAP APIs available to
external developers.
Symbian's licensees have sold over 40million handsets in Japan so
far 5 - a very big number and one which is growing all the time. It's a
pretty exciting (but restrictive) part of the mobile development spectrum.
Native C++ development is limited to in-house personnel and there is
no support for MIDP, so the only way for third-party developers to write
applications for FOMA devices is to develop using the DoJa profile (see
Section 7.2).
There can be a bit of confusion here as sometimes NTT DoCoMo
handsets are referred to as 'i-mode' handsets. i-mode is an always-on
Internet service provided to NTT DoCoMo subscribers accessible from
anywhere in Japan. These devices have an i-mode start button which
allows access to up to 12,000 official websites (and many more unofficial
ones) with information services for sports, ticketing, weather, and games
as well as providing email access.
The i-mode service was extremely successful in Japan and spread
across the world although not with the same results. In some countries
(e.g. the UK and Australia), the service has been dropped due to poor
subscription levels, but in others, such as Israel, it has done extremely well.
An always-on service across the whole country is possible because the
service in Japan uses a realistic pricing model and has the infrastructure
to support it. It's extremely inexpensive as users are charged on data
volumes sent or received rather than connection air time. There are also
family plans, fixed cost plans and various other discount plans which
have all contributed to the success of i-mode in Japan.
As we'll see throughout this chapter, the creation of the DoJa profile
and its design and implementation boundaries are the direct result of
a cohesive business model. By imposing limitations on what the API
exposes, it has been possible to define how technical solutions must be
realized, in a manner that maximizes revenue streams for the operator,
NTT DoCoMo. For example, limitations on the size of local storage mean
that large assets need to be stored on remote servers and accessed over
the air (remember charges are calculated on a volumetric basis); the
lack of access to Bluetooth meant that any simple messaging mechanism
between devices must go via HTTP (Bluetooth support was introduced
in DoJa 5.0). As can be seen, this means that DoJa applications tend to
generate much more traffic than the equivalent MIDP applications.
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