We are on the verge of another information technology revolution where billions of users will carry smart handheld devices with high-speed wireless network connectivity.

This revolution creates an opportunity for new software services and applications not seen since the advent of the World Wide Web. Especially while standards are evolving and infrastructure is still being built, we have a chance to develop an open architecture that will ensure the best environment for innovation, competition, and user experience.

This is not just a matter of squeezing the PC functionality into a cell phone, but requires a re-thinking of the computing infrastructure from servers, to desktops, to handheld devices, to the network that interconnects them.

Standing in the way, however, are real structural barriers to openness:

  1. loss of user data privacy and control
  2. increasing difficulty for new Web services to enter the market,
  3. inaccessible wireless capacity due to closed networks, and
  4. network infrastructure not open to continued innovations.

Our project aims to promote innovation and competition by breaking down these barriers to create a truly programmable and open mobile Internet.


We will address the barriers described above by creating “platforms for innovations” and making them available to others to use and build on in the context of our proposed “Shoka” three-tier architecture comprising handheld devices, generic desktop computers and displays, and the cloud with lots of computing and storage.

Our proposed platforms include:

  1. a virtual data system called PRPL that enables users to take back ownership of their data,
  2. a computing substrate with networks of VMs and mobile VMs to ease the entry of new web services,
  3. an open network to promote network innovation and make wireless capacity available across heterogeneous and abundant radio networks in a vicinity, and
  4. open-source software to promote existing efforts in opening the cell phone including energy efficient secure OS, secure and extensible mobile browser, and customizable UI system.

As a demonstration of our research, our team will deploy a prototype system of infrastructure, devices and applications – at scale – across the Stanford campus. We believe it will be the most comprehensive, experimental deployment of mobile technology ever performed by a university. We will also seek to have a profound impact by providing mobile wireless infrastructure and content for K-12 schools, especially in under-served communities.

In short, our team aims to open up and secure the devices, software development and the network infrastructure enabling lots of innovations leading to Mobile Internet of 2020.


We invite you to find out more by visiting the following links and by watching this space as the research progresses.