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Reader Comments on WAP -- The Emperor's New Clothes?

From: Josh Bailey
I wouldn't consider WAP clothes-less.

I've had a SkyTel satellite email pager for over two years.
I wrote a little application for it, running on my Ultra at
work, to detect when my terminal is idle, and forward email
messages to my pager if I'm away from my desk. I've built up
a very configurable filtering mechanism over the years so I
see only what I need to, when I need to.

The SkyTel system lets me type a reply, or send a canned one
- for example, "I'm not in the office, please call me on my
mobile," or, "I'll be there in 5 minutes." Especially when
I'm in a meeting, I can send yes/no responses to urgent
queries and manage my work queue without being overwhelmed
by stale email when I get back to my desk.

The Palm V is pretty widespread here in SF. A friend of mine
develops wireless applications on the wireless Palm in NYC -
bidding, maps, etc. Point-and-poke works surprisingly well.

There is another misconception about WAP in your article -
that you are "online" and clocking up minutes as you
navigate menus. While you can offer a service like this,
providers here can give you a transaction based service -
you are charged for the data you send/receive, when you send
or receive it.

From: Anders Crofoot
I'd say your right on target with WAP. I haven't heard
about too many applications where it is very useful.
It goes much to the same issue I have with many of the web
based system.

In the US at least (I emigrated to NZ 2 years ago), the
order taking systems based on the telephone work very well.
Many vendors have fallen all over themselves to get people
to order over the web. In fact it is far less convenient to
order that way. It takes longer and most systems can't give
you the feedback the people on the phone can - the item is
out of stock, when it is expected (how reliable that
expected date might be), how other people like the product
and other products that might be better.

As you point out many of the services they want to provide
by WAP you can already get on the cell phone - probably
will a great deal less frustration.

From: Craig
Was this spurred by the article yesterday about Mainfreight
setting up a WAP application?

BTW I've been out of NZ for the last three years, but I
could have sworn we're not WAP capable yet.... (or does
Vodephone have the capability?)

Having been in Europe for a while, I've seen what people
have tried to do with WAP and 2nd generation cell phones
(erk!) and most of it is crappy and unreliable.  The 3rd
generation phones are a little more prommising (a little
closer to that merger with PDAs, big screens, plugin
keyboards, touch screens, etc), but they're still a little
ways off (a long ways perhaps for NZ, though I think NZ
should skip 2nd and go straight to 3rd).

Personally I have some great ideas for WAP.  Which aren't
hindered by the small screen and limited interactivity...
but then I'm an admin/web developer, who has seen (and
made!) as many mistakes as good ideas...

Stay tuned... heh heh, where have I heard that before...

From: Steve Peacocke
An interesting perception - which is where this WAP has
it's failings, in the perception of over-eager marketing
types and journalists.

WAP devices are brilliant for particular applications, but
as you have already pointed out, not yet for reading
internet pages.

I percieve the current usefulness of a WAP device is to
receive, and respond to messages from an unmanned
application. Think of it as a message beeper with the
ability to respond in any of a set number of ways.

An example of use that your readers may identify with is to
receive a message on your cellphone relating

No response from Web Server! your choices are..
 o Auto-reset the server'
 o Re-check in 5 minutes
 o Run "FixTheBloodyThing.exe"
 o Send this message to a pleb #2

Other options for people on the road responding to user
initiated or automated processes are too many to mention.

This proves the old theory that journalists can sell
articles if they target at the gadgetary enhanced, news and
share-trading aware, suit-wearing marketing people -
whereas the actual truth is just as magical and amazing,
but may not have the sell/buzz-words included and may be
more useful to someone with a hard hat or overalls.

I also agree that the palm-top device will prove the ground
for both WAP and PDAs.

Now Have Your Say

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