Include SVG in future Mobile Services Guidelines

Dear Mr. Kramer,

   This is to encourage the GSM Association to consider adding support 
for the W3C's Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) specification in a 
future revision of the Mobile Services (also referred to as 
"M-Services") Guidelines.

   From what I understand, these guidelines represent an effort by 
your Association to encourage mobile phone handset manufacturers to 
support a minimum set of specifications for access to Internet 
services in the next generation of their products.  Since the GSM 
Association claims to include "the world's leading network operators 
who together provide service to more than 70 per cent of global 
mobile phone users," these recommendations presumably have at least 
the potential to profoundly shape the next several generations of 
mobile phones.

   Edd Dumbill, editor of, wrote today in a news item at 
<> that:

>SVG, an XML application for the representation of vector images, and 
>has found early favor and deployment with software vendor Adobe. 
>... Some of its strongest opportunities are in cross-device display: 
>SVG's scalability allowing for use on devices from high-resolution 
>printers to tiny cell phone screens.

   I agree strongly with Edd's conclusion in his second sentence 
above.  Because of its inherent scalability, SVG would seem to be a 
natural for accommodating display devices of any resolution and size, 
including mobile phones.  And, as an XML application, SVG images are 
(at least conceptually) capable of being integrated cleanly into a 
sister XML specification, XHTML Basic.  The latter is already one of 
the core specifications included in the Mobile Services Guidelines.

   Of course, the processing power required to support all of SVG's 
features, as well as the runtime environment required for programs or 
scripts to render SVG statically or interactively, might be daunting 
for even the forthcoming generation of mobile phone handsets.  There 
was a thoughtful commentary on this theme by Ben Hutchings, which 
appeared in a discussion list on future Web- and Java-enabled mobile 
phones at:

   If the concerns that Ben expressed have validity, however, then it 
might still be possible for the GSM Association to support a subset 
of that graphics specification on mobile devices.

   Mr. Dumbill alluded to some developments in this direction when he 
wrote, in his May 2001 report from WWW10 

>... there is already much interest in the next version of the [SVG] 
>specification. Features likely to be in that new version include 
>more support for small devices, not just PDAs but small devices like 
>cell phones ...

   In fact, it appears that the next generation of the SVC 
specification -- SVG 2.0 -- is already intended to address this need, 
by specifying modular subsets ("profiles") of SVG, at lest one of 
which is intended to be highly suitable for mobile phones and other 
such devices:

   If you and others at the GSM Association have not already done so 
-- and you may well have -- I'd encourage you to begin initiating 
contacts with the participants in W3C's SVG2 Working Group to 
determine whether, and if so, when it might be practical to support 
SVG in a future revision of the Mobile Services Guidelines.

Aron Roberts  Workstation Software Support Group . 221 Evans Hall
               University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-3808 USA
      . +1 510-642-5974 . fax 510-643-5385

P.S. When referring to the Mobile Services Guidelines above, I'm 
referring specifically to version 3.0.0 of the "M-Services 
Guidelines," dated 2001-05-31,  a Microsoft Word document which can 
be downloaded from a link on the "Mobile Services - Questions & 
Answers" page at <>.

This document lists several other image and video formats on pages 
15-17, but SVG doesn't seem to be listed, even in passing, anywhere 
in this document.

Received on Monday, 10 September 2001 18:44:40 UTC