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New .mobi suffix points to wireless Web sites

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Consumers will soon be able to recognize Web sites specially designed for use by mobile phones by the new ".mobi" suffix, which will be introduced alongside the popular ".com" and other top-level domain names.

The new suffix was approved by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers at a Luxemburg meeting on Monday.

The first Web sites for mobile devices, which will be fit for a small screen and limited memory and bandwidth, will be ready in 2006.

The new domain name was requested by a group of powerful mobile phone operators and handset makers, which set up a joint venture to encourage companies and Web site designers to create mobile Web pages.

Member companies include Hutchison 3, GSM Association, Ericsson, Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung, Telefonica Moviles, T-Mobile and Vodafone.

If more Web pages are optimized for handheld devices, rather than desktop or laptop computers with big screens, these companies hope more consumers will upgrade their phones.

"As .mobi will encourage the usage of advanced functionalities in mobile devices, the market potential for those devices will increase," they said in a joint statement.

Nokia, Ericsson and others also hope telecoms operators will buy new infrastructure gear to serve those .mobi pages. "Mobi" is short for mobile phones in the Netherlands, but it is a nickname that is used around the world. Belgians use "GSM," Germans "handy," French "portable" or "mobile," Britons "mobile" and Americans "cell." Swedes have a "mobil" and Finns make calls with a "kannyka."


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