To reply to fondue's remarks about iMode, I would first of all have to say that i-mode is *not* a technology, it's a brand name, a concept, a business model and a consumer service. I-mode as a concept could basically be deployed on any network infrastructure and can use any markup language etc.

I-mode has been designed as a useful, affordable and easy to use consumer oriented add-on to your phone and that's how consumers perceive it and how it has been marketed (you will not find words like Internet, technology, network or markup language in the media commercials of NTT DoCoMo, who is the provider of i-mode).

In the end, consumers all over the world do not care about technology, and they never did. They want something that helps them to master their life easier and that's fun and easy to use.

Another misconception is that i-mode uses proprietary technology for its i-mode service (whereas WAP is often described as an open standard). In fact, i-mode is purposely using open Internet quasi-standards, in the sense that it's using all the technologies that are most common on the Internet already. It uses a subset of HTML (being submitted as a note to the W3C), GIF for images, MIDI for music, TCP/IP and HTTP as protocols, SSL for encryption, POP3/SMTP for email and MPEG4 for video streaming.

You also do not have to pay NTT DoCoMo if you want to provide your content on i-mode. Just go ahead and build it and let the world know -- that's really all you have to do. Even for becoming an official i-mode content provider and being listed on the i-mode portal on the handset, you don't have to pay to NTT DoCoMo. What you do have to do, is convincing them that your service is useful and easy to use, adds something to the already existing portfolio and that you can provide extensive user support.

The major advantage of being an official i-mode content provider is that you will be allowed to use the content billing system provided by NTT DoCoMo, which will allow you to charge your users for accessing your content/service easily (you only care about the content and DoCoMo cares about invoicing and billing). For this service, NTT DoCoMo will charge the content provider 9% commission charge on all the subscription revenue -- which means that you as the content provider get 91% of the subscription based revenue.

If you want to know more about the business model and the success of i-mode etc., check out the upcoming English language i-mode developer's guide published by SAMS this autumn (