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Nokia, Ericsson, Motorola Endorse WAP 2.0

Not surprisingly, Nokia, Ericsson and Motorola Wednesday endorsed the new Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) standard developed by the WAP Forum, a group they co-founded together with Openwave (then Unwired Planet) in 1997.

Since its founding, the forum has grown to more than 450 members, but Nokia, Ericsson and Motorola remain at its core, and their support is essential to getting any new specification off the ground. The three vowed to give that support through the development of products, content and services based on the new standard.

The new specification, WAP 2.0, promises a simple, powerful tool-kit for easy development and deployment for a number of new services, including Multimedia Messaging Services (MMS), which allows users to send messages combining sounds with images and text.

WAP 2.0 is based on the TCP and HTTP standards, and has adopted XHTML as the base of its mark-up language. XHTML is widely considered to be the next-generation mark-up language for the fixed Internet as well, and the forum hopes its use in WAP 2.0 will narrow the gap between the fixed Internet and the wireless Internet.

WAP 2.0 also incorporates Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), Transport Layer Security (TLS), HTTP and TCP.

The forum said the new specification also takes WAP Push to the next level. WAP Push is intended to send out information when something happens, as in the case of an online auction, rather than making the user search for the information.

"The work of the WAP Forum has brought us a good and solid set of standards from which we can start developing the next generation of mobile services," said Aage Snorgaard, vice president, Nokia Mobile Phones. "Technologies such as XHTML and Cascading Style Sheets will be key in delivering high quality user experience and excitement, which are the essential ingredients of success in the market."

The three are hoping that the GSM Association sees WAP 2.0 the same way, noting that they believe the association should include the specification as a cornerstone of future versions of its M-services initiative.