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WAP In Perspective

By Mark Williams
on December 4, 2000

The purpose of this article is to address the apparently widespread wave of
pessimism surrounding WAP technology and of its impending demise!
There are many articles currently being pushed from pillar to post around the
Internet, about how WAP is about to fall down around our ears and how WAP is
no good, people don’t like it and it’s unreliable! I thought I would take
some time out to give a different viewpoint.
At this stage, you might well say that I have a vested interest; after all
my own WAPMail client was recently put forward for nomination at the WAP
Awards 2000 and I have written on this matter before. To a certain extent,
you would be quite right. However, I also want to take the opportunity to
put right some myths, which people are willingly “buying into”.
What is WAP?

WAP is…
“… An agreed standard by which to distribute data…”
Fundamentally, WAP is an agreed standard by which to distribute data for WAP enabled (mobile) devices. These devices can range from the Nokia 7110 (probably the most well know – due to the fact it was the first to hit the market and appeared in the film “The Matrix”), through to palm-top devices and potentially microwave ovens etc. That’s it! That’s all it is. A way to move data about in small chunks so people can read it and work with it “on the move” – or at least using a device, which is not a PC and does not weigh too much!
What is not WAP?
[Image:] What is WAP not?
It is not, was not designed to be, and will never be the meaning of life. Quite frankly, television advertisements would have you believe that without a WAP enabled phone, you were missing out on life! That is not the case! WAP does not do your laundry for you, teach you to “surf a 50ft wave” or walk on water!
The reality is that many of the advertised “features” are not yet widely available. Yes, they are in trial, but not widely available. They are in trial because many are reliant upon the next generation of phones and communication (GPRS etc??????.). Remember those bidding wars that were going on earlier this year for billions of UK pounds? Well, that’s what they were all about. Mind you, a word of warning! When GPRS does finally hit the streets, don’t expect to be enlightened with the meaning of life. At the end of the day, it is still going to be about the transfer of small amounts of data – resulting in data-transactions!