December 26, 2000, 5:11 PM — Test Center experts discuss the pros and cons of these two mobile technologies
The current state of the wireless world is downright exciting. Already, technologies have been implemented that allow users to enjoy a freedom of mobility never before thought possible. Building on that excitement is a whole new set of technologies that promise to cut the tether forever. To address this, we put two of our experts together to talk candidly about the respective technologies, debate the pros and cons, and give some insight about what we can expect in the future.
Ana: WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) was designed to allow wireless devices, and their limited screens and connection speeds, to access Internet and intranet applications. Phone.com, Ericsson, Nokia, and Motorola founded the Wireless Application Protocol Forum in June 1997, an organization that has grown to include hundreds of members. The goal was to offer a license-free standard to the entire wireless industry so that anyone would be able to develop WAP-based services.
And they have met that goal. WAP is an evolving standard but has already built a significant degree of industry support, making it the standard of choice for delivering and presenting wireless Internet services to the market of handheld devices.
WAP standardizes access not only for mobile phones but also for PDAs (personal digital assistants) and pagers. It works with all major wireless networks -- including CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access), GSM (Global System for Mobile communications), TDMA (Time Division Multiple Access), and CDPD (cellular digital packet data) -- over circuit-switched, packet, or Simple Messaging Service and can be built on any operating system, such as Windows CE, Palm OS, EPOC, and JavaOS.
WAP-based sites typically present the information in one or two lines of data: company name and phone number; flight numbers and times; currency and exchange rate, etc. This is the information that WAP is good at handling, and it is quick and easy for individuals to access. But WAP is not for everyone. Due to its bare-bones nature, WAP benefits individuals with a high demand for mobility the most.
Tim: On those same lines, Java 2 Micro Edition (J2ME) was developed specifically to address the vast consumer space of small devices, ranging from smart cards to pagers. This space, with its limited memory and display constraints, has proved to be an ideal environment for Java.