Wow, I'm pretty amazed this happened, but I probably shouldn't be with Nokia, Microsoft and Vodafone pushing for it. But it looks like we'll be able to register a .mobi domain sometime soon (after the 90 day sunrise period is over). I think this is the application they approved.
From that document:
The sponsored TLD community to be served by the mobile specific domain name space is limited to the following stakeholders:
* Individual and business consumers of mobile devices, services and applications
* Mobile content and service providers
* Mobile operators
* Mobile device manufacturers and vendors
* IT technology and software vendors who serve the mobile community
All aforementioned stakeholders will benefit by designation of a clearly identified TLD for mobile optimised Internet content and services. Even though mobile service operators and content providers, so far acting separately, have made efforts to try to serve the online needs of the mobile market, these efforts have been uncoordinated. Thus the benefits to consumers have been far smaller than if these efforts were harmonised under a single TLD name space to serve the entire community. Indeed, for each of the stakeholders described above, designation of the mobile specific TLD name will foster the widespread adoption of mobile and wireless devices to access the Internet and ultimately the convergence of Internet and mobile telecommunications.
So this make sense, and not too long ago I was promoting the idea of a standardized way of ensuring a mobile version for your visitors with a mobile. prefix or a /mobile or /xhtml ending. It will now make sense to have a .mobi version of your site as well. However, I still worry - as Sir TBL and others have - that we'll be creating a separate and probably lower-quality web at least at first.
On one hand we have a T-Mobile board member last week announcing, "... we want tell our customers from the first moment that they are carrying with them the Internet they know from home." On the other hand, we have .mobi which is tell consumers about a completely different web formatted specifically for their phones, so use that instead. The mobile web definitely hasn't lived up to expectations so far, but I really feel that has more to do with the networks and handsets, rather than consumer apathy. Now that handsets are becoming more powerful, networks are faster and sites more mobile aware maybe a .mobi domain will just add to the confusion, rather than help it?
Either way, the new TLD is coming now and I think there'll be lots of opportunity for content providers to take advantage of the new domain.