Japan’s number one mobile phone operator NTT DoCoMo has said it will add a new application platform to its “i-mode” handsets this year as it tries to catch up with Apple’s runaway iPhone success.
NTT DoCoMo will allow third-party individuals to develop applications for the company’s 50 million “i-mode” users, spokeswoman Makiko Furuta said.
DoCoMo revolutionised Japan’s mobile phone market with the 1999 launch of its i-mode service, which brought internet services to mobile phones. However, DoCoMo restricted the number of app developers, citing quality control issues.
But the recent emergence of open platform systems such as Google’s Android and Apple’s App Store for the iPhone and iPad has prompted DoCoMo to loosen its controls and allow individuals to easily create and offer apps and services.
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