iaSolution ready to launch Java-based platform for GPRS

Joyce Chang, The China Post

Java-based solution provider iaSolution Inc. said on Thursday that it has finished the Internet environment trial experiments for its GPRS (General Packet Radio Service). “The next step beyond WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) will lie in the combination of Java technology and GPRS,” said Wesley Kuo, president of iaSolution, at the company’s first anniversary celebration on Thursday.

The wireless software-platform company received US$2.5 million in capital support from Japan-based investor Softbank in its first round of funding this year. This is the second Taiwan investment for the Japanese firm, following its investment in a local wireless streaming company.

The company said that the second round of funding would take place in the second quarter of 2002, aimed at raising US$8 million. Currently, operating systems companies develop varying proprietary standards, limiting the development and application of content. Due to the advantage of its cross-platform functionality, Java technology allows for the easy transfer of content and is seen as a business opportunity for Internet contents providers (ICPs), said Kuo.

Kuo said that NTT DoCoMo, Japan’s largest mobile-phone company, has built Java into its I-mode handsets since January this year. The platform developer has successfully embedded its Java-based applications into mainstream operating systems for handheld devices, including Windows CE, EPOS and Linux, and is testing for Palm OS. GPRS is faster than the current 2G, or second-generation wireless services, and is considered a stopgap technology until 3G services emerge. Beyond faster data transfer speeds, GPRS packet-switching technology will allow service provider to charge for data transmissions by bytes sent across the network rather than for air time used.

Kuo said that these advantages of GPRS would assist the growth of wireless Internet services, especially in the areas of entertainment and financial information. Kuo added that he expected to make a significant impact on the local telecommunication market during the second half of this year. KG Telecom said at yesterday’s event that it is promoting the application of GPRS. Incorporated in April 2000, iaSolution’s two major lines of products and services are Java-based software applications for IA devices and enabling technology for IA-based information services.