handy mobile phone of yours is on its way to becoming a multipurpose
super gizmo. You will not only be able to communicate with people
around the worsld with it but surf the entire net too - anytime,
anywhere! Incredible, but true. That's what WAP [Wireless Application
Protocol] is all about.
WAP, the most happening technology in
the field of communication, is targeting people on the move. If
the Internet goes mobile, the range of applications that WAP can
provide is almost unbelievable. Starting from the usual e-mail sending
and receiving services, the WAP holder has the net (in text form)
at his/her fingertips.
Right now, screen being the limitation, WAP enables the user to
have the net in text form only. Some WAP phones viz., NOKIA 7110,ALACTEL
One touch, SIEMENS S25, ERRICSON T36, SONY and palmtops like SIEMENS
IC35 and ERRICSON MC218 provide an access to the net. As screen
is the limiting factor for these tiny devices, a lot more R&D has
to be done in this area.
The Indian saga of WAP enabled Internet
Service Providing started a year ago. That is when both the Internet
and mobile phone services started to boom on the Indian corporate
scene. By then both of them must have identified the other's potential.
Consequently, the two services thought of joining hands.
When mobile operators like TATA Cellular
(in Andhra Pradesh) went public to announce WAP enabled phones,
other operators like Orange, AirTel, and Aircell also decided to
provide such devices. Cell phone users in cities like Mumbai, Chennai
and Hyderabad who are enabled with the WAP services, are provided
with stock updates, air/rail timings and breaking news. These service
providers might be just a few steps ahead of many other mobile service
providers who will soon be following in their footsteps with the
required set-up in the months to come.
Is it possible to go online if one has
a WAP compatible phone in hand? At present, no. The WAP phone user
can only login to a site that is also a WAP browser. Other browsers
can be downloaded to any PC but not a WAP browser. Also, mobile
phone vendors have not assured any strategy that can make the existing
phone compatible with a WAP service. Even if all the constraints
are overcome, price will limit the user base. Quoted from Rs 9,000
upwards, WAP phones are as expensive as Rs 30,000. Though India
is lagging behind Japan, USA and other countries at present, it
is a land of opportunities that can reap enormous benefits from
the WAP revolution in the coming years.
- Charan CS