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Mobile API standard puffs on last cigarette

OMTP sings WAC me up before you go go

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Operator talking shop the Open Mobile Terminal Platform (OMTP) has sketched out its last three papers before it gets absorbed into the Wholesale Application Community.

The tasty bits of OMTP will get subsumed into the WAC, with the rest due to disappear into the GSMA and OMA from which much of it should probably never have emerged.

Folding the OMTP into the WAC is no surprise – there are too many initialled standards groups around at the moment, and at least the WAC has a clear agenda even if it is a necessarily optimistic one; that of taking on iTunes.

The OMTP was set up with the laudable intention of providing a set of cross-platform APIs through which operators could expose handset, and network, functionality to application developers. Back in 2004 that was going to be in Java, with the late-lamented SavaJe pushing the idea hard.

Since then the OMTP has floundered a bit, producing recommendation documents covering security, voicemail and all sorts of other odds and ends.

The last three – updates to Camera Maintenance, Visual Voicemail and Common Charger, are typical of the unfocused output of the talking shop. Some of the documents are valuable, and some even well written, but most of them ended up as discussion points which, in turn, led to more of the talking that mobile operator staff so enjoy.

In its BONDI project the OMTP found its original goal – cross-platform APIs exposing network and handset functionality, only in JavaScript rather than the original Java and suffering nothing from the change.

However, BONDI requires an authenticating body to sign approved applications, and the OMTP is poorly placed to provide that. So the operator's answer to iTunes, the WAC, takes over BONDI entirely while the other scraps drop into the Open Mobile Alliance (which already defines all sorts of things including MMS, WAP and such like) and the GSMA.

The OMTP's MD Tim Raby has already carved himself out a niche as interim CEO of the WAC, which should smooth the transition, but we'll have to wait until next month to get details of how the WAC is going to operate, and if it really can stand alongside iTunes. ®

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