Palm to drop Web clipping for WAP

Palm VII's Web access technology future uncertain

3Com subsidiary Palm Computing looks set to abandon its current approach to Web browsing and leap onto the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) bandwagon. So far, Palm's plan for wireless Net access, offered through the Palm VII, currently forming the basis for public trials and various parts of the US, centres on its Web 'clipping' technology, essentially a method for stripping out the less relevant data from a Web page so it can be easily sent over a low-bandwidth wireless link. In promoting Web clipping, Palm signed up a number of leading content providers to offer versions of their sites aimed at Palm VII users. It now looks like they may as well not bothered. According to Palm-watching Web site, Peter PDAntic, Palm has dropped Web clipping from its plans in favour of WAP. WAP is rapidly becoming the standard method by which all mobile devices, and high-end cellphones in particular, will display Net-sourced information. It's supported by all of the major phone manufacturers, with phones incorporating the technology due next year. If you view cellphones as wireless data terminals, that will mean WAP will have a userbase way ahead of Palm's, so some move toward WAP on Palm's part was always on the cards. The snag is, WAP requires Web-based information to be encoded in its own format, rather than HTML -- Palm's Web clipping technology, on the other hand, is HTML-based. That said, it's likely HTML and HTTP will both be ultimately modified to better support WAP. According to the site, Mark Bercow, Palm's VP of strategic alliances and platform development, said: "Palm is committed to supporting WAP in future releases of the Palm Computing platform for use by our licensees in the wireless telecommunications market." ®

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