Games developers are planning to use next-generation mobile phone networks to let gamers interact on the move.
Internet-type services are already emerging on mobile phones using wireless application protocol (Wap) technology, but Wap is still in its early days and has a number of limitations, according to developers.
"Wap offers just a single micro browser, low bandwidth, high latency and unstable connections," said Chris Wright, business development manager for Wap content company Wirelessgames.com. "You have to remember they are phones, not PCs or TVs."
Wright predicts that the mobile gaming market will really take off when third generation mobile (UMTS) arrives in 2003. This will give consumers a continuous high-speed internet connection on their mobile phones, enabling video and interactive speech.
The so-called killer Wap applications will be those that can be played on the move, said Wright.
"The future is the never-ending game that you can play on convergence devices," he said. "It is unlimited interaction that will let gamers play out roles and get different views of the game on different devices."
Robert Terek, president of programming for Packet Video, agrees. "The next phase will be mobile multimedia, video, animation, mobile graphics and music on your mobile," he said.
"But the mobile phone will not be a device you watch television on. It will give you breaking news, and let you watch film trailers, book cinema tickets or check out restaurants in your area."
Terek said he expects next-generation mobile technology to be used by parents as surveillance devices to check on their kids in nursery and even as a two-way picture walkie-talkie.
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