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Communications Handhelds Wireless Networking Hardware

WAP is Dead, Long Live WAP 230

antimatt writes "Everyone knows WAP is dead. It was dead on arrival. Right? Wrong. WAP use, at least in the UK, is up 42% in the last year. Are we seeing postmortem twitching, or a phoenix rising from the wireless ashes?" While the first incarnation was pretty rough, WAP is slowly growing into what people had hoped the first version would be. Now if only it just lost the stigma attached to it.
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WAP is Dead, Long Live WAP

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  • by grazzy ( 56382 ) <> on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @04:56PM (#9942866) Homepage Journal
    .. and it'll gain another 100%.

    • by MrChuck ( 14227 ) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @05:34PM (#9943105)
      Hey, I use it
      along with BSD.

      Guess I'm doomed.


    • by panaceaa ( 205396 ) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @06:02PM (#9943301) Homepage Journal
      Agreed. Can't 42% just be contributed to people accidentally putting their unlocked phones in their pockets, plus the greater adoption of WAP-enabled phones?

      I know I end up with 50 cents a month of WAP charges because I do dumb things like that with my new WAP-enabled phone. I've not once purposely gone to a WAP page though.
      • by minginqunt ( 225413 ) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @06:20PM (#9943415) Homepage Journal
        The reason it's taking off is that WAP 2.0 has many advantages over the frankly execrable 1.x series.

        1.0 was based on WML and a proprietary binary proxying protocol.

        2.0 is based on XHTML Basic, TLS and IPv6. So, basically, WAP 2.0 *is* the web for phones.

        Also unlike 1.0, 2.0 appears to work, m-Payment included.

        And perhaps most crucially, the WAP branding has been completely abandoned. WAP may be broken in people's minds. But "Vodafone LIVE!" and "O2 Zones" "Orange Wirefree Web" all seem to work perfectly. And that's basically what Vodafone et al. call WAP 2.0
        • Re:One more user .. (Score:2, Interesting)

          by hitmark ( 640295 )
          there is allso the fact that wap is the perfect media to offer backgrounds, animations for mms phones, ringtones and all that other stuff you want to sell. just find what you want, hit a link and it will be on your phone in seconds and the cost will be put on your next phone bill...
        • Re:One more user .. (Score:2, Informative)

          by Shinglor ( 714132 )

          If your phone can run Opera [] (Nokia Series 60, SE P800, P900) then it can read pretty much any version of HTML or XHTML.

          The disadvantage is that it will download huge images then resize them to fit. That makes it expensive when you're paying for GPRS by the KiloByte. Fortunately if you make a mobile stylesheet you can use CSS3 to selectively replace images with their alt text using img#myimage {content: attr(alt)}

  • by 5m477m4n ( 787430 ) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @04:56PM (#9942869) Homepage
    I won't believe it until Netcraft confirms it.
  • WAP 1 vs. 2 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SIGALRM ( 784769 ) * on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @04:57PM (#9942882) Journal
    WAP has such a negative stigma attached to it because that's what carriers marketed several years ago
    The stigma is largely a result of the lack of support for WAP 2. Many new phones on the market today support only WAP 1, as well as most of the existing phones already in use.

    WAP 1 had some limitations and faults, but much of that has been addressed in WAP 2. However WAP 2 is only supported by newer, higher end phones.
  • And stay dead! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Onan ( 25162 ) * on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @04:59PM (#9942890)
    We already have a language which was designed to scale very far up or down, and to adapt itself to disparate display environments: HTML.

    And if people would just use it as intended, rather than trying to smother it in ecmascript, flash, et al, we wouldn't need to come up with a whole new protocol every time a new display gadget becomes popular.

    • Re:And stay dead! (Score:5, Informative)

      by gl4ss ( 559668 ) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @05:05PM (#9942943) Homepage Journal
      well.. actually most of the useful sites to browse from phone are writtin in either html or xhtml-mp, but reachable through 'wap'gateway(important billing wise with some operators)...

      with the modern phones any decently put together site is viewable pretty well, as long as the creators weren't too narrow minded.

      (though, there was a 'need' for wap, it was to minimize the amount of data needed to transfer and to make the browsers simple/small, however as tech progresses so quickly they should have realised that by the time this thing would catch on it wouldnt be too costly to have a semi-full html browser)
      • Re:And stay dead! (Score:3, Insightful)

        by FrankHaynes ( 467244 )

        with the modern phones any decently put together site is viewable pretty well, as long as the creators weren't too narrow minded.

        That qualification just excluded a good number of sites. I do occasional work at an art college and their web design class there focuses on how to gum up your web site with Flash widgets and scripts and animation...completely disregarding that a growing number of web site visitors on mobile devices will be unable or unwilling to partake of that 'rich user experience' that gob

        • Re:And stay dead! (Score:3, Interesting)

          by gl4ss ( 559668 )
          well, sites with special for small screen versions of them have already started to appear in large numbers, it's a good way for a site to get returning visitors, to offer them something they can read daily in a bus or train(returning visitors, isn't that what every news site drools after anyways?).

          most sites with actual content work usually pretty well in opera for series60 for example(hell, even pr0n tgp sites are mostly navigationable). if the content has to be wrapped up in neato flash then there weren'
      • "with the modern phones any decently put together site is viewable pretty well, as long as the creators weren't too narrow minded."

        This page is best viewed with Microsoft Internet Explorer!
    • Re:And stay dead! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Serveert ( 102805 ) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @07:37PM (#9943844)
      Gee why didn't the designers of WAP think of that. You're good.

      Oh wait a minute. They did think of that. And they realized that WML, which is easier to parse and supporrts soft keys, decks, etc, is better suited for small phones which often lack a large screen as well as sufficient CPU to parse HTML.. ie you can have tags without in HTML vs XML or WML which don't allow that, you must have a closing tag. HTML implementation is really one big hack, any decent HTML parser is nasty.

      Fortunately they waited for XHTML which has more strict tag guidelines (Sorry no without ) and is really a wonderful standard which meets the desktop browser and phone browser requirements.
  • The real reason... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Spad ( 470073 ) <> on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @04:59PM (#9942896) Homepage
    The only reason the usage has gone up is that everyone's using WAP to cheat on pub quizzes by using Google.
    • by garcia ( 6573 ) * on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @05:10PM (#9942968)
      I have a T-mobile Sidekick/Hiptop and I have always thought of doing that while playing NTN but it's just not fast enough. You are better off guessing or waiting for them to tell you the answer (depending on the game type).

      What wireless net access *is* good for (as explained by a friend) is finalizing drunken bar arguments over stupid shit like "what was the name of the juice that the Gummi Bears drank to make them bounce?" "Gummiberry Juice" is the correct answer in case you were wondering.

      Sadly the bartender wouldn't name a shot after it.
    • The only reason the usage has gone up...

      Another reason may be that the third generation services from 3 (e.g. video clips of news and football/cricket/wimbeldon), while charged for, normally come with a headline and sometimes a short summarry delivered over WAP, gratis. So if all you want is the cricket score, you can get it for free every half hour or so.

      Sure 3 has a comparatively small userbase, but they are the early adopters & likely to be using the various services much more per head than the
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @04:59PM (#9942897)
    The problem with WAP is that it sucks. Proof is here: []

    The WAP standard is not closely followed by all phone/PDA browsers. You have the openwave browser working pretty well with it, and then you have the Nokia phones crashing the whole phone with some markup (even valid markup).

    People should fix their browsers, it not just a matter of fixing WAP itself only.

    • by cindy ( 19345 )
      Please mod the parent up.

      It isn't really WAP that sucks. WAP's biggest problem is that browser support for WAP sucks. If you don't have compliance - or consistant non-compliance - there's no way to create WAP that will work properly for users of more than one network. (Hell, you can't write content for users of more than one PHONE!) Add to the mix slow, buggy servers and a lack of commitment from the consortium participants and you have the mess that WAP is now.

      Neither the FA nor the A [] referenced by the F
  • My main problem... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @05:01PM (#9942907)
    My main problem with wap was that it costed 10p/minute. I used it a bit when I had a month for free, but haven't used it since. What's the point in investing huge amounts of money in something, and then making it so expensive that no one will use it?
    • by Alan Cox ( 27532 ) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @05:34PM (#9943110) Homepage
      All you need is a dialin modem (eg an old pay as you go mobile 8)) and a Linux box running kannel - now your normal call rate/sminutes apply. GPRS also helps a lot since its then traffic by usage. Certainly thats the big reason I now use the mobile phone stuff a lot more.

      GPRS is actually a lot better for things like irc, which being such low traffic volumes means you can irc on long train journeys with your phone plugged into the sockets virgin trains now supply, and at a low typical cost.

      WAP seems to be on the increase. I've had more mails in the past 3 months about the wapirc gateway I wrote for my old 7110 than in the 2 years before.
      • I did something similar, except I don't accept dialin to my house. Instead, I just have my phone configured to dial up to a local rate ISP (which are still common in the UK despite the rise of the poorly-implemented unmetered dialup) and use my net-facing IP address as the WAP gateway. There I have kannel running as you mentioned. There are a couple of public WAP gateways out there for if you don't want to run your own, too, but the ones I tried wouldn't deal with my POST requests which apparently require s

    • Wow, GPRS must be expensive outside the US.

      Here in the US, T-Mobile offers unlimited WAP+GPRS for $5 a month. It's not metered by bandwidth or by time, and you can recieve phone calls while you are connected.

      For $20, you can get the full-featured "Internet" plan with a real IP (not NAT) and all ports opened.
      • Not really. In the Isle of Man (where we have a private phone monopoly who's not ashamed of their 40% profit and whine whenever they are told to cut their outrageous charges), GPRS costs less than $20 and it has a real IP address. You can also go 'pay as you go' GPRS (by default) where you don't pay any fixed charges at all - if you're a light user, or just do low bandwidth things like IRC it is very inexpensive.

        I really use it mainly for getting aviation weather (there are actually some good WAP sites for
    • There's nothing about WAP that makes it cost any particular amount per minute. For instance, I have a fairly old phone which does WAP, and has GPRS. GPRS is charged (at least in the UK) by byte and the typical charing model is that you get a certain number of bytes per month. I forget how many I have, but it was the smallest amount that the network offered. The result is that I use WAP a fair amount, although generally for only one or two sites (actually, really only one: the BBC news). It's a way of pa
  • by Lispy ( 136512 ) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @05:01PM (#9942908) Homepage
    Most new phones, at least over here in germany, are branded by the provider. Of course it is technically possible to flash the software but most users keep whatever their phone carries.

    This means that some keys are preprogrammed to dialup the default GPRS-connection whenever they get pressed (mostly by accident when the phone is in the pocket and you forgot to lock the keyboard). Maybe the service gets really more popular but I would love to see a statistic that shows how many connections are dialed by mistake.
  • WAP in the UK (Score:2, Interesting)

    by AveBelial ( 762816 )
    I live in the UK and now after more and more mobile phone offer services such as Colour backrounds, Java Gaming, Ringtones ETC, many websites have started up to give theese for free through wap, which was the main useage between myself and friends, also things such as Vodaphones "Live" service helps, giving a user friendly portal to services that are actully USEFUL, things like train and bus times etc, and because this is set up through the provider, you are linked striaght into the information service. GPR
  • Slashdot wap page? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Hobbex ( 41473 ) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @05:03PM (#9942929)
    Speaking of which, when will we see WML version of Slashdot? Currently I use [] as the homepage in my cellphone, which works fine, but a true WAP page would be better.

    As the (on topic) side note there is no reason for WAP to die, as it actually is pretty useful. Not only for gratuities checking slashdot and news on the cellphone, but for truly useful things. The public transport system here has a WAP page for checking timetables, which is pretty useful if you don't want to walk from the bar to the busstop only to find you have a halfhour's wait.

    Several TV channels here also put out all there tele-text material on wap, which is nice because it is brief, up to date, and meant to read on a low res screen. The only thing wrong with WAP is the silly price for wireless data (2 Euro per meg!)
    • by SlashChick ( 544252 ) <erica @ e> on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @05:16PM (#9943004) Homepage Journal
      Adding to my earlier rant [] in this same article, what's up with the Slashdot WAP page? Sure, the articles are nice, but "Top 5 comments" only? How useful is that?

      Why doesn't Slashdot have an option to view the whole article including comments? Better yet, why can't we view the article in "light" mode without all that crufty table formatting?

      Perhaps I'm asking for a lot from a site that still uses HTML 3.2 (and can't even seem to conform to that standard), but honestly, folks, it's not 1998 any more. There are a lot of people out there who would love to view Slashdot and other sites through Palm-type browsers, but when there's no content, there's not much reason to do so. Phones are becoming more and more advanced, but very few websites seem to be pushing the cutting edge in mobile compatibility.
      • by powdered toast dude ( 800543 ) * on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @07:29PM (#9943763) Journal
        It doesn't suck, and I typically read /. more from my treo 600 than I do from firefox. But it does need a little help.

        Here's my wishlist for what /. needs to improve in its "lite"/wap/palm version:

        1. Let me log in for crying out loud. I'm a paid subscriber dammit! Plus, slashdot activity contributes to mod points, and my wireless activity goes completely unrecognized. Give me credit for credit due.

        2. I love the "top 5" comments, and sometimes that's all I want to see. But please, do let me see all comments if I want to. Sometimes one of the "top 5" comments will generate lots of good discussion in reply that I then miss.

        3. Let me post. We all know you can't get "first post" if you have to wait until you can get to a "real" screen. Just today I was bitten by this big time -- by the time I got back to my desk to say "hey, why not display pr0n on a girl's boobs", the joke was already old.

        4. Dunno if this happens on wap phones, but at least on my treo 600, the last character in a post or on a page is often dropped. Makes links broken, and often removes the final punctuation character from a poster's comment. It's probably also related that <blockquote> sections and other formatting doesn't carry over to "next page".

        All of that said, I wish every site had a lite/wap version that was even as broken as slashdot's. It's very quick and handy. Viewing normal HTML pages sucks over GPRS. Even a less-than-optimal lite interface is MUCH better than none at all for information browsing.

        Slashdot can do better here, but it is still a leader.


    • by eggz128 ( 447435 ) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @05:26PM (#9943055)
      Google has a WAP proxy. Go to on your cellphone, enter as the search term, then select settings and select URL destination, go to the wapalised Slashdot and bookmark that.

      At least, thats how I've been reading slashdot for a year or so on my mobile phone.
      • by tubabeat ( 605286 )
        Useful, but shouldn't the link be ??

        It might just be that google sends the html page to me because my blackberry does support html too, maybe works okay for others with wml only phones?
        • There's some sort of content negotiation that goes on. works just fine on my Nokia, but redirects me to normal html google with Firefox. causes Firefox to attempt to download the wml page.
          • Might not be practical for this particular problem, but I recommend the WML browser extension [] for the occasional viewing of WML pages in Firefox.

            It's not perfect, but useful for quickly testing WML pages you're coding (it gets old real quick testing solely on a phone over GPRS..).
            • In this case it wouldn't work for I've tried it before with Opera (which also supports WAP). I think if the UA says it supports HTML it gets the HTML version, regardless of if it also says it accepts WML.
      • Google has a WAP proxy.

        I was about to try that, but it looks like T-Mobile has lobotomized its WAP service so that you have to pay $$$ for it now. GPRS data still works and is still free, so while I might not be able to pull up a (presumably) lower-bandwidth version /. on my T610, I can connect my notebook to my phone, fire up Mozilla, and bring up regular /. (broken HTML, icky IT color scheme, and all) that way. Try figuring that one out.

    • Check out on your cell, go to the search options menu, an choose go to address. Enter Works pretty well, I used it for a week when I was away from my computers... The sign of a true addict...
    • by Macka ( 9388 ) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @07:50PM (#9943943)

      I'm in the UK, and since getting a new Sony Ericsson K700i a month ago, my WAP use has really taken off. It's so much faster than the last time I tried using it. But half of that experience depends on the sites you go to. I'm with Orange, and their WAP sites really suck. Too many graphics on them make them slower than average to load and navigate.

      The best site I've come across so far is It's quick to load because it's very light on graphics, and the content is just everything I need when I'm away from my PowerBook. From the most recent news stories, to Traffic information. The latter is especially useful, as I can quickly search for accidents/road works on the Motorways (Freeways) I plan my use on my journey. And from time to time, when I unexpectedly find myself stuck in a traffic jam and I want to know what's happened ahead to cause it.

      I even used WAP recently to check the horse racing result for a friend who wanted to know if she'd won on a bet she'd placed that morning. I found the site and had the results up in minutes. Oh, and she had won too.

      It really is a hell of a lot more useful than it used to be.

    • Speaking of which, when will we see WML version of Slashdot? Currently I use as the homepage in my cellphone, which works fine, but a true WAP page would be better.

      Head on over to here [] and take a look at Avantslash.

      Not only does it trim down Slashdot to something that can be read on a PDA but it can also be run through Googles HTML to WML proxy and it works really well (the script will determine if you're coming from a WAP phone and redirect you accordingly).

      It also works ver

  • Few problems (Score:4, Interesting)

    by usefool ( 798755 ) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @05:06PM (#9942950) Homepage
    There are few problems with WAP usages, at least from my personal point of view.

    First is the cost, it's not that cheap to use it yet as most service providers are charging by the seconds or bytes.

    Secondly, some phone designs are not good enough to use WAP comfortably, but I am sure this will change with more all-you-can-eat phones coming out.

    On top of that, there isn't enough incentive for site owners to provide a WAP friendly interface, because there isn't much to make out of it.

    Maybe if phone service providers start offering 'referral incentive' to sites, that is, to pay site owners $0.001 per visit via mobile phone, we might be seeing something very quickly.

    Personally I believe providers make more than enough to pay that incentive, and with more sites becoming WAP friendly, more users will start using WAP, and the more the providers will make, and the more they can afford to pay site owners or lower the WAP access cost.
    • "Maybe if phone service providers start offering 'referral incentive' to sites, that is, to pay site owners $0.001 per visit via mobile phone, we might be seeing something very quickly."

      Most sites are not worth the $0.001 to visit. As longs as stuff is free....people can take the bad with the good. But cell phone companies would only want to pass that on to the user as $0.005.
  • Wap is too limited (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rokzy ( 687636 ) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @05:06PM (#9942952)
    My phone has the real internet, though the more compicated sites don't work right.

    WAP's problem is the developer has to put in extra effort just to deliver a crappy version.

    XHTML and the real internet is the future. Flash is a cancer.
    • "The real internet?" The WHOLE THING? Holy shit! That's an amazing phone. Mine only lets me surf the web and check my email. :(
    • Of course, to get real Internet access on a standard phone, we have to download this POS called WebViewer. OK, so the graphics are decent, but it can only load half of a /. page, half the time on a dynamic site you get "Malformed response message" errors, and the trial is good for 10 days and 10 page( load attempts, AFAIK)/day ($10 for the full version). If they released their proxy software, we could at least use our own boxes, and get around that ANNOYING trial limit (the trial-checking is all server side
  • The UK is more urban than the US. S. Korea is more urban than the US. These gagets, especially cell phones, facilitate an urban lifestyle by allowing quick communication between people away from a phone. Cell phones just don't make as much sense in rural areas because even if you could see somone, he or she might be 50 miles away. Quick action in social networks is more essential in a densly populated populated areas, thus allowing the growth of cell phones. Like any other gadget, e.g. the computer (interne
  • The soul usage for WAP that i've actually found useful is to remote control my computers. Nothing like reviewing logs on that fishing trip =P

    Yes, i know i'm hopeless.
  • greece ruled :P (Score:2, Insightful)

    by topgan1 ( 725611 )
    wap was never alive :) least in Greece.
  • by SlashChick ( 544252 ) <erica @ e> on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @05:10PM (#9942966) Homepage Journal
    This is one of my biggest pet peeves. I own (and love) a Treo 600. [] Got it for $400 on eBay; the best $400 I've ever spent. I love being able to SSH, send and recevie email, and log onto AIM from my phone! However, online wireless content is severely lacking.

    My worst pet peeve about the wireless world in general is that there just isn't enough content out there designed for mobile devices. Ever tried to load on a Treo? Even at 144K speeds (twice as fast as a 56K modem), the page takes forever to load because it's a 250K+ page. How about Also horribly bloated.

    I have Small Sites [] set up as my home page on my Treo, but most of the sites it links to are outdated, toast, or horribly broken. For instance, Yahoo! Movies is on there, but is often broken ("Page not found", anyone?) Citysearch or a comparable site doesn't even make the list.

    Why can't I log on, type in my zip code, and get movies, restaurants, maps, and driving directions from my Treo? That's 90% of what I need WAP for. But the "portal" sites seem like an artifact of the dot-com boom -- missing or outdated information, or whole pages that just don't work.

    Yahoo/other portal companies, are you listening? Please create a WAP or "wireless-web"-capable interface for me (and the thousands of others like me who know how frustrating it is to load a 200K page on a Treo or similar device.)
    • Check out Vindigo [].

      An entire Palm application, for $25/year, that does everything you want it to do.

      The best $25 I ever spent on my Clie.

      It can also do wireless sync'ing, so you can update the information from your Treo easily.
    • Why can't I log on, type in my zip code, and get movies, restaurants, maps, and driving directions from my Treo? That's 90% of what I need WAP for. But the "portal" sites seem like an artifact of the dot-com boom -- missing or outdated information, or whole pages that just don't work.

      I don't know what a Treo is, but my phone cost about the same amount (well would have been cheaper if I sent in the rebate, didn't care though) yet I can do all of the stuff you just mentioned except for SSH. I don't need m
    • I also have a Treo 600... while I get pissed occasionally about the load times for a page or the way it is displayed, I can usually fix that just by using the option to not show images or by use wide page mode.

      For movies I usually use (they have a text based movie showtimes link) or Neither are WAP or have wireless pages, but they are loadable and usable on the Treo.

      For maps I use mapquest's mobile page: It is a barebones page specifically for phones/pdas. Lo
  • by Bubblehead ( 35003 ) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @05:11PM (#9942979) Homepage Journal
    (1) New technology gets developed;
    (2) Corporations see the potential, and start huge marketing campaigns;
    (3) Industy trend setter (Wired, etc.) hype the technology beyond means;
    (4) Technology doesn't deliver, because it isn't mature yet (and applications are missing);
    (5) Industry trend setter declare the technology dead;
    (6) Surprise - years later, the technology has a comeback, often without ordinary folks even noticing.

    I have seen this happening often (Java, Bluetooth, etc.), and it seems to happen again. I once heard that new technologies, no matter whether software or otherwise, take an average of seven years to mature. Java is a great example: Released in 1995, and hyped like crazy, failed to deliver. Interestingly enough, it got hyped as a web language and succeeded in the enterprise.

    Back to WAP: The article acknowledges this mechanism:

    "WAP has such a negative stigma attached to it because that's what carriers marketed several years ago, rather than what could be done with WAP"

    Pure marketing hype, without knowing how to deliver.

    "... the technology got the blame for misguided and poorly implemented content."

    Like with Java, the application of the technology was not yet completely understood.

    "The majority of users don't care how their phone gets the news headlines or sports scores"

    ... the same way that most users don't care whether the sites they visit are driven by JSP, PHP or ASP. I bet most uses think Java is dead (if they even know what it is). Likewise, myst users don't care about WAP.

    Let's face it: Most technologies get only powerful and influencial once they are not sexy any more - and even then only geeks will notice.

  • by Garabito ( 720521 ) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @05:13PM (#9942984)
    I think WAP is a very cool and convenient technology, it's the best thing since sliced bread and it lets me

  • by dyefade ( 735994 ) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @05:13PM (#9942987) Homepage Journal
    is that vendors are only just starting to really make the effort with their portal services. For example, I (in the UK), am on Orange, it's only recently that the majority of people have had WAP compatible phones, so it's only recently Orange have really made the effort to provide a decent WAP service. Add to this the slow (but now nearly there) uptake of GPRS, and it's not surprising it's taken until now for WAP to become popular. I've only just started to use it myself.

    Another reason it's use is picking up (I would think...) is that you can buy java games, ringtones, graphics etc from your provider via WAP, which is now a big business.
  • by avij ( 105924 ) * on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @05:17PM (#9943009) Homepage
    We [] use WAP [] for tracking Euro banknotes while travelling. Most of the notes are entered via the web form, but when you're travelling you may not have an internet connection available all the time and that's where WAP comes handy. I just spent a weekend in Brussels in our annual EuroBillTracker meeting, my life would have been miserable if I didn't have my phone with me ;) Unfortunately there are some bugs and limitations in phones that need to be worked around somehow.
  • by wehe ( 135130 ) <wehe&tuxmobil,org> on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @05:22PM (#9943036) Homepage Journal
    This topic has been already discussed at /. February 2004: What Do You Use WAP For? []. I still can see from the footprints of mobile cell phones in my Apache log files [], that many people are using the WAP format of TuxMobil - Linux On Laptops, PDAs and Mobile Cell Phones []. Also the i-mode format is used, too.
  • Compact WAP (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BillsPetMonkey ( 654200 ) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @05:35PM (#9943113)
    Following the miserable failure of WAP/bug-ridden implementation of WMLScript, lack of graphical api (Oooh lets use bitmap picture files for low bandwidth devices!) and poor user recognition, a new paradigm in WAP is coming, based on NTT Docomo's HTML subset called cHTML ...

    It's known as "Compact WAP".

    Or "cWAP" for short.
  • by rainman_bc ( 735332 ) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @05:38PM (#9943130)
    Free content on a cell phone you say? With a limited display size, where the hell do you put the banner ads to pay for the content?

    And we all know the web really took off for the same reason VHS did: Pr0n...

    No pop-ups? No banner ads? No free content...
  • by mqx ( 792882 ) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @05:48PM (#9943195)

    We're supposed to be the insightful techies here, but obviously most people missed the cluetrain on this one:

    The issue with WAP was never with the protocol itself, it was with the uselessly small LCD interface on phones that made it clunky and entirely non-user-friendly, not to mention the poor transport layer.

    The standard 2004 digital mobile phone has larger and more useful display and keyboard interface, not to mention higher datarates thanks to GPRS -- meaning that any protocol (not just WAP) is far more useful.

    I'm sure if you look at the statistics, you'll find that not only has WAP usage increased, but so has that of other features commensurate with the better phone UI.

    • Wrong-o (Score:3, Interesting)

      by hqm ( 49964 )
      If you ever tried using WAP and then have tried using iMode's CHTML, you would see why WAP is a steaming pile of doo doo.

      CHTML is a nice clean subset of HTML (think HTML 2.0) which supports all the stuff you're used to, forms, gifs, etc.

      WAP, on the other hand, has a broken idea about "decks" of cards, which they thought would be needed for 400 baud connections or whatever it was designed for.

      Writing WAP applications is irritating, because they don't work. The gateway you're using has the wrong max packet
    • The issue with WAP was ... the uselessly small LCD interface on phones...The standard 2004 digital mobile phone has larger and more useful display and keyboard interface

      And therein lies the entire problem of "convergent technologies".

      I don't want to go back to the bad old days of walking around with half a brick in my hip pocket. I don't want a larger and more useful display and keyboard. If I want to carry 30GB of MP3s and a camera, I'll get an Ipod-like-device and a camera.

      But for most of the time, I

  • WAP and RSS feeds (Score:3, Informative)

    by tubabeat ( 605286 ) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @05:51PM (#9943220)
    I find wap quite handy for reading RSS feeds from several sites including slashdot. Bloggo [] is a useful RSS to WAP translation service. I also access my Nagios monitoring server using WAP.
  • by Fantastic Lad ( 198284 ) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @06:01PM (#9943292)
    who had to look up what 'WAP' meant!

    I copy and pasted the following from some cell phone company's website:

    "WAP stands for Wireless Application Protocol and it means you can access specially written Internet pages on the screen of your digital mobile phone."

    But apparently, this only counts for web pages which have been specially coded, not in HTML, but in a pared down version of the same called, WML, or "Wireless Markup-Language".

    In my highly successful efforts to ignore all things 'Cell', the intricacies of WAP bypassed my give-a-hooey radar until I looked it up just now and pasted it here for the benefit of anybody else who doesn't keep up with the endless un-defined acronyms churned forth from the Slashdot forge.

    (And yeah, I realize I'm probably in the minority in this particular instance, but that doesn't mean every last person out there isn't tripped up on an all-caps secret word from time to time!)

    You gotta watch your step while tip-toeing through the web!


  • Some people still insist on paying big $$$$$ (or £££) for ringtones but don't have a way to transfer them to the phone. This can most easily be accomplished by connecting to a WAP site.

    For me, the T-Mobile WAP deck (T-Zones) is actually fairly useful... if only for the yellow pages and movie times functions.

  • by Serveert ( 102805 ) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @07:07PM (#9943616)
    WAP = Wireless Application Protocol

    It used to be only WML (Well WMLC, compiled WML) that was sent over WAP, now it's XHTML. This is a convergence between desktop markup and wireless markup. In anycase they were right in that WML was dead. Unfortunately for them you can put anything over WAP even MMS traffic.

    I have laughed and laughed as people claimed that WAP was dead meanwhile I log into gateway servers and see WAP traffic increase.

    Maybe people will listen to me now? nah. ;)
    • I use WAP almost daily; I have since I got my first WAP-enabled phone over two years ago.

      I use it to check traffic reports on the major highways, to look up phone numbers on the nation-wide Canada411 service, to check weather reports, to check what movies are playing, etc.

      WAP never was dead as far as I was concerned.
  • New Technologies (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mobileTen ( 750885 ) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @08:06PM (#9944062)
    There are new technologies like on2go [] which allow live streaming data to the phone. They are like Telletext, but for the phone. It allows you in real-time to see if traffic on a road is getting worse or better. Or if your stocks are going up :) or down :( It is kind of like a combination between WAP and SMS. According to thier web site it was started by a bunch of guys that got frustrated with the cost of SMS and limited appeal of WAP On2go are meant to be in to be in beta testing at the moment and if people want to try out the service they can sign up on the on2go web page.
  • by horza ( 87255 ) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @09:33PM (#9944594) Homepage
    I'm sorry but where does the 1.1 billion come from in the link to ZDNET it quotes? The quoted article states WAP views have doubled to "22.5 million impressions". I quote:
    Figures released by the Mobile Data Association (MDA) show that use of the most popular mobile data services, including SMS, MMS and WAP, have all doubled over the past year and it expects WAP traffic to reach eight billion impressions by the end of 2004. (emphasis mine)

    It hardly rates as a popular mobile service. In the UK alone 111 million SMS messages were sent just on New Years Eve. Here [] it states 2.1 billion text messages were sent last year in the UK alone. That makes WAP traffic seem pretty miniscule.

    Basically WAP is rubbish and always has been. The decision to charge an obscene amount per minute killed it. Even if mobile operators offered free WAP (which they won't) and instead creamed profit off transactions, the stigma is so bad no-one will go near it. WAP is definately dead. Even before phones started getting powerful enough to have proper embedded web browsers.

  • I'm Italian, you insensitive clod!
  • bluetooth started out with a big *KER-FLOP*
    however, it's just now starting to pick up. because people realise "hey! we can use this technology over this other technology and get the same results with much less power!"

    there have been various technologies in the past that we se today that were considered DOA.

    I cant remember which..
  • WAP is alive and well, and is used for mobile porn [].

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