WAP 2.0 Standardisation
The latest Wireless Application Protocol standard, WAP 2.0, developed by the WAP Forum was revealed in August 2001. WAP 2.0 is intended to bring mobile services closer to Internet standards on desktop PCs. WAP 2.0 is supported by companies like Ericsson, Nokia and Motorola. All three industry giants believe the protocol will further advance mobile services, and have stated their intentions to develop products, content and services based on WAP 2.0. New technologies designed to improve the WAP standard include: Multimedia Message Servicing (MMS), Persistent Storage Interface, Provisioning, and Pictograms. The WAP 2.0 standard also makes use of: wireless telephony application (WTA), Push, and user agent profile (UAPROF) in more advanced forms.
WAP 2.0 SPECIFICATION
The new WAP specification uses language common to the fixed and wireless environments and contains new functionality that allows users to send sound and moving pictures over their telephones, among other things. WAP 2.0 will be based on the XHTML mark-up language, bringing it much closer to i-Mode, which uses another version of HTML, the mark-up language for the Web, called cHTML.
Other Internet standards that have been adopted in WAP 2.0 include Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), Transport Layer Security (TLS), HTTP and TCP. The richer content and multimedia services that will be available in 2.5G/3G networks are going to be based on these and similar standards and will therefore integrate seamlessly with WAP technology.
Additionally, WAP 2.0 further evolves WAP Push, which can be used for services such as online auctions, where it is important for users to receive information at the point of interest, rather than being forced to actively look for the information.
WAP 2.0 has adopted XHTML Basic as the base for its mark-up language. XHTML, developed by the World-Wide Web Consortium (W3C), is the language that will be used to create all content, regardless of whether it is intended for the fixed Internet or the mobile phone world. By narrowing the gap between wired and wireless content, XHTML greatly accelerates the pace at which services can be created and improves the usability of wireless services for consumers.
MULTIMEDIA MESSAGING SERVICES
Multimedia Messaging Services (MMS), a service developed jointly together with 3GPP, allows users to combine sounds with images and text when sending messages, much like the text-only SMS. It also contains an improved WAP Push, used for services such as online auctions, where users can receive information on demand rather than having to search.
THE WAP FORUM
Ericsson, Nokia and Motorola co-founded the WAP Forum together with Unwired Planet (now Openwave) in 1997, and the forum has since grown to more than 450 members, representing manufacturers, carriers and content developers from all parts of the world. The primary goal of the WAP Forum is to bring together companies from all segments of the wireless industry value chain to ensure product interoperability and growth of the wireless market. The companies believe that new functionality, such as multimedia messaging, opens up new possibilities for operators and content developers.
The new generation of the WAP specification together with improved handsets and other wireless devices ensure a much better development environment for advanced mobile services. Based on well-established internet standards including TCP and HTTP as well as the necessary components specifically adapted for wireless environments, WAP 2.0 will provide a simple, yet powerful tool-kit for easy development and deployment of a multitude of useful new services.