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What is iMode?
iMode is a brand and a service of wireless Internet connection at the touch of a button on a cell phone. NTT DoCoMo started this service in February 1999 in Japan and obtained over six million subscribers 14 month later.An i-mode enabled cellular phone is similar to in appearance to most cellular phone models. One feature in particular is a four-point command navigation button at the centre of the phone. This allows the user to control the pointer on the display, as well as connect to the iMode service by pressing a single button. There are several companies that manufacture i-mode cellular phones, including Panasonic, Nokia, Ericsson, and Sony (these models are only available within the Asia Pacific - see Figure 1a). However, NTT DoCoMo's models are the most popular within the industry.

 


Features Of iMode
Users receive news and stock prices tailored their needs, send and receive e-mail, shop online, and receive advice on good restaurants in unfamiliar parts of town. 160 financial institutions joined online banking through iMode and the latest interface with car navigation system provides congestion news, localized weather forecasts and parking updates for the ultimate in traffic information. iMode proved that wireless Internet connection is so easy. While a PC takes more than 60 seconds to boot up Windows and connect to the Internet, iMode needs less than 10 second to go there. DoCoMo’s 6.5 millions subscribers plus competitors’ 5 millions are 11.5 millions. This is almost equivalent to PC Internet users in Japan. Before iMode, Japanese Internet penetration was 13.4% (1998), while the U.S. was 37.0%. The latest survey predicts that penetration will be 56.5% and 48.5% in 2001, respectively. iMode's critical success factors are low costs and quick continuous access to the Internet. iMode charges for the amount of data not for additional minutes. A user pays for fixed charge of $3 per month and 30 cents per packet. Thus, he can leave Internet connection at free of charges until he sends or receives data. European can tap into the Net from their cell phones and Americans get similar benefits with Palm VII devices. However, these systems must set up a new dial-up connection each time a user wants to go onto the Net.The mark up  language used to design iMODE is compact HTML (cHTML), a subset of HTML 3.0 with additional tags. HTML is not used, as it's too complicated for the small displays and browsers. In cHTML functions like frames are removed, and therefore cards can be loaded more quickly. CHTML can also support GIF images and can access the Internet directly using URLs.
The java enabled imode phones are also available in the latest versions. Java-enabled i-mode supports the Connected, Limited Device Configuration (CLDC) of Java 2 Platform, Micro Edition (J2ME™). The J2ME CLDC defines a minimum required complement of Java virtual machine specifications and class libraries for small network-connected devices. The CLDC is based on the K Virtual Machine (KVM). The KVM is a compact, highly portable Java virtual machine specifically designed to run on memory-/CPU-/power-constrained devices like the mobile phone (unless specifically noted, the term “mobile phone” is used in this document to refer to the i-mode phone). As a member of the Java 2 family, KVM shares much of the infrastructure of the larger editions of the Java execution environment; but in order to meet the requirements of small devices, it is optimized for these devices’ constraints. The J2ME/CLDC platform, though compact, still provides the Java virtual machine, associated libraries, and APIs that that DoCoMo content providers need in order to make rich, exciting applications that the i-mode user can install on demand. "DoPa," which is DoCoMo's dedicated data communications service, offers connections to LAN and Internet service providers by applying this principle of packet switching to the wireless section as well. This makes it possible to realize excellent cost performance as the mobile packet communications system has a network configuration in which the packet communications function is added and integrated into PDC, which is the digital system for portable and automobile telephones. NTT DoCoMo has launched FOMA, which is the first service in the world based on IMT-2000. FOMA realizes clearer and more comfortable communications environments than ever before and provides a new mobile environment where voice, still images and video are freely handled through the introduction of new technologies. These include large-volume communications using broad frequency bands and intelligent networks that can select the optimal communications rates and paths according to the type and volume of information being transmitted. This uses WCDMA for communication.


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