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Palm dismisses WAP out of hand

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The much hyped wireless application protocol (WAP) has been described as irrelevant and unsuitable to the PDA market, by the leading handheld device vendor. A senior executive of Palm Computing told The Register that WAP was all well and good, but as it had been developed for mobile phones, it was unlikely to find success in the PDA arena. Jean Baptiste Piacengino, Product Line Manager for GSM Products at Palm Computing said: "Demand for sure, but will it deliver on the promises? WAP was exclusively developed for phones and non-computer devices. Web clipping is far better designed for products like the Palm. We are not sure that WAP would work on PDAs." While Palm is still a member of the WAP forum, it has no plans to put WAP on a PDA. But this view not is not shared by everyone the phone camp. Colin Ellis, senior product manager for Ericsson said: "WAP devices are flexible enough for many different screen sizes. It will be application dependent." The larger screens and keyboards that populate PDAs lend themselves more readily to applications such as reading and writing emails. However, Ericsson does not believe that WAP will impact directly on the PDA market. Piacengino said: "AU Systems (the creators of the platform for PDAs) have a lot of experience with Ericsson and whilst doubling up on the platform it is down to the user experience more than the browser and the right connectivity services. It is not just a browser for the benefits of data access. People don't just care about technology they care about how quick they can access it." Future developments in the WAP market this year will see the development of secure transactions to boost ecommerce for mobile devices. Ellis said: "There has been a real growth in the ecommerce marketplace and e-shopping is accelerating. People will start using mobile devices not for grocery shopping but, for instance, if they are looking for a book say on Amazon.com. They could do that from a mobile." ®

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