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This is short for Wireless Application Protocol and is a scheme that expands the functions available on mobile phones. Both the full term and its abbreviation are beginning to appear in newspapers and periodicals because products using WAP are coming on to the market. The system allows users to connect to the Internet via a small text screen running a microbrowser. In theory it then becomes possible to do a whole range of useful things: examples given in articles include downloading a local street map, checking the time of your flight, or making a theatre booking. Industry pundits predict that its impact on mobile telephony will be as great as the World Wide Web was on the Internet, turning mobiles from voice devices into data ones. Recent strategic alliances — including one between Microsoft and Ericsson — have generated predictions that within a few years most Internet accesses will be via mobile phones rather than PCs. A related term is WML (Wireless Markup Language); this is a specialised type of tagging forming a key part of the WAP scheme, as it permits formatted text to be displayed on the phone. It’s closely related to HTML, the tagging scheme for the Web.

The Wireless Markup Language specification portion of WAP is based on the HDML (Handheld Device Markup Language) specification and is an XML (Extensible Markup Language)-based language.

PC Week, Oct. 1998

Thanks to WAP, GPRS and some other hot new acronyms in mobile communications, your phone can be used to settle all sorts of shopping and business transactions.

Data Communications, Sep. 1999

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Copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–. All rights reserved.
Page created 11 Dec. 1999

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Last modified: 11 December 1999.