The expected launch of Japan's wireless web technology, iMode, into the European market will not spell the end for Wap applications, according to experts.
Instead, industry players believe that iMode will merge with Wap rather than replace it.
Speculation has escalated in recent weeks that iMode is on its way to the UK. This week it was reported that Japanese telco NTT DoCoMo and Dutch company KPNTelecom were in discussions with the UK wireless venture of Hutchison Whampoa ina move to take the iMode standard outside Japan.
But Iveca Juresa, European business manager for mobile eservices at Hewlett Packard said: "iMode will not replace Wap, there are over 400 companies behind the Wapstandard, while iMode is a standard by one company, NTT. Proprietary standardswill not be supported. Standards need to be open," said Juresa.
In Japan the number of mobile phone users with internet access topped 10 million at thebeginning of June. One reason for the success is that it uses packet switching technology rather than the circuit-switched technology used in the UK. Packet networks are faster, and allow users to pay only for the amount of data downloaded rather than for the duration of the connection.
Because iMode is based on a simpler version of HTML, it makes it easier to convert content from internet sites for viewing on mobile phones. Wap services require website operators to write Wap-specific versions of their sites.
iMode has wireless transmission control protocol (TCP) functionalities, whileWap version 1.2, which will ship in products this autumn, will not have TCPsupport - a widely used internet and private networking protocol.
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