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MIT Creates Version of Its Web Site for Smartphones (and Plans to Share Code)

Students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who want to use their iPhones to look at course syllabi or check the campus-shuttle schedule can now surf to a version of the MIT Web site designed especially for cellphones. And officials plan to let other colleges use the Mobile Web project software.

The goal of the project is to create MIT Web pages that load quickly and look good on all kinds of Web-capable cellphones, often referred to as smartphones. Most college Web sites are designed for big monitors and fast Internet connections, but those pages are often hard to navigate on smartphones. So MIT officials are now encouraging cellphone users to use the new mobile Web site, at m.mit.edu, when visiting the Web site from their phones.

MIT is not the only college to create mobile versions of its Web site. Abilene Christian University, which gave all incoming freshmen iPhones or iPod Touch devices, also recently created an extensive mobile version of its Web site designed for the devices. But MIT plans to make the code for its mobile Web site open source, so that other colleges can adapt it for their own sites, according to Andrew J. Yu, whose title at MIT’s Information Services & Technology department is “mobile devices platform project manager.”

Mr. Yu estimates that MIT has spent about $200,000 developing the mobile Web project, which was first rolled out this past June. The goal is to release the software to other colleges early next year, he said. —Jeffrey R. Young

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