Microsoft, Nokia and others struggle to dominate Wireless App Protocol market

Microsoft, Nokia and others struggle to dominate Wireless App Protocol market

By Susan M. Menke

GCN Staff

As U.S. and European vendors square off in the nascent Wireless Application Protocol market, Microsoft Corp. is promoting a rival Pocket PC version of its lightweight Windows CE operating system for cellular phones, handheld computers and other mobile clients.

WAP is widely expected to foster wireless Web access, e-mail, calendaring, contact management, transaction, authentication, local geographic information and many other mobile tasks.

But squeezing the voluminous Web content onto tiny LCD screens requires special WAP server software and the Wireless Markup Language.

Microsoft's future Pocket PC OS would have its own Pocket Internet Explorer browser, eliminating the need for the WAP software emerging from vendors such as Nokia Inc. of Finland.

500 at once

Nokia is about to release Nokia WAP Server 1.1 for secure mobile access to intranets and extranets. WAP Server 1.1 runs under Unix, unlike the initial version for Microsoft Windows NT 4.0, and it is able to serve up to 500 simultaneous mobile users.

The software incorporates Secure Sockets Layer and Wireless Transport Layer security. It can provision mobile device settings over the air. WAP Server's e-mail connector works with Microsoft Exchange, Lotus Notes, Linux and Solaris Sendmail, Netscape Messenger, and Post Office Protocol 3 and Internet Messaging Application Protocol 3 systems. The server software complies with Simple Network Management Protocol monitoring.

A free, trial version of WAP Server 1.0.1 is downloadable from Nokia's Web site at www.nokia.com/corporate/wap/trial_download.html. It requires NT 4.0 Service Pack 5, the Java Runtime Environment 1.2.2 and the Java Hotspot Performance Engine 1.0.1.

April introduction

Hewlett-Packard Co. is porting Nokia WAP Server to the HP-UX operating system and will have it ready by next month, the company announced.

IBM Corp. and AT&T Corp. will collaborate on software to do much the same thing with handheld computers over AT&T Cellular Digital Packet Data networks.

Meanwhile, the market-leading Palm handheld from Palm Computing Inc. of Santa Clara, Calif., is the center of a broad industry initiative to standardize the way remote wireless data is synchronized between devices and networks.

Palm Computing has joined with IBM, Lotus Development Corp., Motorola Inc., Nokia, Psion PLC of London and Starfish Software of Scotts Valley, Calif., in a SyncML initiative to make wireless and wireline data interoperable regardless of platform.

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