DotMobi launches database for mobile-Web developers

Registrar for .mobi domain says giving software developers cell phone specifications will help them design better mobile sites.

DotMobi, the industry group that registers domain names for the mobile Web, launched a database of cell phone specifications on Tuesday to help software developers better design Web sites for mobile phones.

DeviceAtlas will contain information collected from handset makers and operators, including Nokia, Vodafone, and Telecom Italia, DotMobi said at the Mobile World Congress wireless fair in Barcelona.

"DotMobi recognized the need to solve the challenges developers face in creating content for literally thousands of different handset and software combinations," DotMobi Chief Executive Trey Harvin said in a statement.

Paul Nerger, in charge of supporting developer programs at DotMobi, said DeviceAtlas aimed to be more comprehensive and affordable than similar databases kept by companies such as Adobe Systems, which provide tools for developers.

"It's two to three orders of magnitude cheaper than others in the industry," he told Reuters.

He said DotMobi was talking to many more handset makers and national associations that register cell phone and network specifications. "We still have a lot of work to do."

DotMobi has sold more than 850,000 domain names ending in ".mobi," but only about 25,000 have content, Nerger said.

He added that DotMobi still had a few hitches to iron out with ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, in particular that it could not give out two-letter domain names, which were being reserved as country codes.

This meant that well-known organizations known by two-letter acronyms such as British Airways, the Financial Times, or Hewlett-Packard could not use their intuitive mobile domain names ba.mobi, ft.mobi and hp.mobi, respectively, he said.

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