WAP has been somewhat overshadowed by a competitive technology, i-Mode, developed and
supported by NTT DoCoMo in Japan. i-Mode uses an HTML derivative (Compact HTML, or
cHTML) for content display and runs on a packet-based network. At the time of this writing,
DoCoMo claims 18,000,000 subscribers and is beginning to make inroads elsewhere across the
world. (For more information, visit http://www.nttdocomo.com/i/index.html .)
One technology to watch in the near future is XHTML (an XML-compliant version of HTML).
Discussions have occurred between the WAP Forum and DoCoMo to transition both i-Mode
and WAP to XHTML so that both technologies share a common markup language. With a
move to a complete XML-based architecture, all content for a site could actually be stored in
XML. Using a combination of XHTML, XSL, and RSS (all XML technologies), this baseline
content could be “retrofitted” to any number of devices based on the profile of the accessing
device. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is currently working on this concept (for
more information, visit http://www.w3c.org ).
WAP 1.2-compliant phones will appear on the market in 2001. Among other things, WAP 1.2
defines a Push framework (for the “push” of data to users based on predefined conditions) and
the Wireless Telephony Applications Interface (WTAI). Wireless push applications are some-
what controversial because the initial primary use could be for the push of advertising mes-
sages to mobile devices. How these messages will be targeted and how mobile consumers can
choose to filter them are of great interest to privacy advocates and to industry organizations
such as the Wireless Advertising Association (WAA). The WTA Interface allows
WML/WMLScript applications to actually interact with the telephony-related functionality of a
mobile phone and a wireless network. For instance, WTA will
Allow numbers to be dialed through the selection of a hyperlink
Provide for programmatic access to a phone's address book
Send DTMF Tones programmatically
WTA capabilities will be included with WAP 1.2-compliant phones.
You might find it helpful to familiarize yourself with this glossary of commonly used
• Bearer Service —A telecommunications service that allows transmission of user
information signals between user-network interfaces.
• Gateway —In a communications network, a network node equipped for interfac-
ing with another network that uses different protocols.