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What Do You Use WAP For?

Cliff posted more than 10 years ago | from the for-those-of-you-still-using-it dept.

Portables 49

FePe asks: "I have a Siemens M55 with WAP support, and I have experimented a little with it. I can search on Google, upload my own pages in WML (try this on your mobile phone, which isn't a WML page, but it works anyway), and also browse other small regular HTML pages. It seems to me that nearly nobody uses WAP these days, at least that's what my impression is, so I was wondering if Slashdot readers use WAP, if you use it at all?"

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Why... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8379269)

is this on the front page? 12 hours without one comment?

WAP is obselete, that's why (3, Insightful)

shfted! (600189) | more than 10 years ago | (#8379477)

WAP was designed as a dumbed down "html" using xml, speficially for devices with small screen sizes and slow processors. It was good for the cellphones at the time. Now, cells phones are much more powerful, often come with colour screens featuring more pixels -- enough to be usable on legacy (html 4.0) webpages. And if a website is properly designed with CSS for layout, these new phones have no problem displaying the content of existing webpages, eliminating the whole need of WAP.

And thus WAP died.

Re:WAP is obselete, that's why (1)

jquirke (473496) | more than 10 years ago | (#8381411)

The main point you're missing is that WAP is not specifically a document formatting system. That is just one element of WAP.

There is an interesting overview of the WAP system and the protocol stack here [wapforum.org]

WAP is a stack of protocols used for communication with mobile devices. HTTP can be carried over WAP too.

The reason I think WAP is unpopular is that it was a more advanced feature of mobile phones that people found too hard to use. The more technically oriented people who did use it have now moved on to more advanced "smartphone" supporting native HTML/HTTP and built-in full-featured TCP/IP stacks.

Checking Emails & Googling (2)

dan_polt (692266) | more than 10 years ago | (#8379843)

I often use wap for googling for facts [google.com] & checking my emails when its my only cheap net access (when i'm not at university).
You can use google's excelent wml conversion facility to view the text of lots of web pages.

Handy when bored, but not really functional for major tasks.

Expensive (4, Informative)

BigZaphod (12942) | more than 10 years ago | (#8380007)

It costs me per kilobyte to use anything that accesses the web on my phone. So I don't. They can give me unlimited night and weekends to anywhere in the country, but if I try to access Google they try to take both my arms and one of my legs.

This might explain why few people use WAP.... Use it once and after you get the bill you are no longer able to push the buttons on your phone...

I had Nextel. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8380192)

It was pretty tight. I used to play sprints games for their phone :). If I was walking around down town seattle I could look up McCormiks & Schmidt, call using the link to their phone number, ask how busy they were at the bar, or if I wanted to sit down, put in a reservation. Look up movie times. Check concerts. Get the exact address for stuff if I forgot the street it was on. Terse emails via T9, once while driving. Oh yeah, I'm that asshole.

But a favorite among myself and my friends, and this took a little doing mind you, was to read either Rod Hilton's Abridged movie scripts, or DarwinAwards stories while we were waiting in line for something, or waiting for movie previews to start.

At the time AT&T was something insane like 5c per kB. When I finally managed to get rid of my cellphone I'd put 137 MB of web through it. (Essentially all text).

Nextel might be expensive. But damn, they royally kicked the llama's ass.

WAP? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8380024)

The only thing I've ever seen "WAP" used for is the sound effect when hitting somebody over the head with a clue-by-four.

WAP (1, Funny)

JDWTopGuy (209256) | more than 10 years ago | (#8380027)

I use WAP to discipline unruly kids!

news.yahoo (1)

jaredmauch (633928) | more than 10 years ago | (#8380084)

I use the WAP feature on my Nokia 6200 to hit the lightweight news.yahoo website while at lunch. It works fairly well, that's about it though, I do have a password protected lightweight contact database that I can hit with it as well but I rarely use that since i keep everyones numbers and info up to date in my phone more than anywhere else..

"And thus wap died" (2, Insightful)

bob_jordan (39836) | more than 10 years ago | (#8380112)

Hmmm.

I get wap over GPRS so its reasonably fast. I have a P800 so the screen is a reasonable size. I don't pay a fixed fee for my GPRS so I don't get
generic IP access so I can't run a web browser or
use the built in email reader.

However, I can go to wap.yahoo.co.uk and read
mail at my yahoo account and I can reply via my
phone if I need to. I can also send instant
messages to people such as "Turn your phone on!!".

You may think wap died but I use it regularly to
check my mail without having to pay extra for web
access. I count this as usefull and not a sign of
death in any way.

I also sometimes use it in bed to check the news
headlines to see if anything really important and
worth getting up for has happened. It usually
hasn't.

Bob.

WAP is wank? (1)

paulc (5348) | more than 10 years ago | (#8380128)

I remember about 4 years ago when I was working in the UK we played around with WAP and even had a working demo of a WAP front end to our payment gateway (so you could authorise and process credit card payments from a WAP-enabled phone). I also remember stating at the time "WAP is wank". Funny how it never really caught on big style..

*waits for the masses to disagree*

Loads of things! (1)

steve.m (80410) | more than 10 years ago | (#8380303)

Show times for the cinemas I live near (Orange's main site),
Weather reports for climbing (wap.ukclimbing.com),
News headlines (Orange and wap.yahoo.co.uk),
Whats's on TV (wap.thecustard.tv)
Finding out what's on in clubs, etc. when I'm out (ents24.com),
Finding out where I can get a taxi/curry/cash machine after I've been out(wap.upmystreet.com).

And this weekend (in a pub) I found the correct settings for Vodafone GPRS by using wap.google.com so I could send an MMS picture message to a friend who'd got the settings screwed up on his phone.

Why wap when you have opera? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 10 years ago | (#8380335)

of course, the answer is that if you don't have a decent (x)html browser in your phone. if it supports java(or symbian) then the chances are that the built in browser sucks more than alternatives(and if it is even somewhat new phone then the chances are that it supports xhtml to some degree, and even if not then the chances are that the wap gateway can convert xhtml to wml to some degree).

but on a more serious note I use the connectivity from my phone mainly for staying on irc(cutting down sms costs+ channels are handy - there's even some kludge script for ircing through wap) and for reading news(national and geek news, like slashdot, and stuff that I could be reading from a paper magazine). And occasionally for googling for some missing fact while not near a computer.

back during last summer I even wrote a bunch of slashdot comments from the 3650 I had then. If I was more active in using email I'd surely check it from it too.

staying connected here costs a bit under 20euros btw which buys 100mbyte of transfer which seems plenty - and the only thing counted is the transfer amounts so idling on irc barely costs anything, it's the graphical stuff like dilbert&etc that up the transfer amounts.

Re:Why wap when you have opera? (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 10 years ago | (#8381568)

Hmm... what Java based browsers do you know of, and recommend?

After all, last I checked, Opera Software wasn't making a Java version of their browser.

Re:Why wap when you have opera? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 10 years ago | (#8384101)

well, webviewer is what's usually recommended.

http://www.reqwireless.com/webviewer.html

I havent had that much intrested in alternatives as I got a series60 device and opera just kicks ass on them..

It's pretty useless. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8380411)

I've had a WAP phone for about four years. The most use it's ever been was looking up movie times, reading the news headlines while sitting in a waiting room or, my favorite: seeing if I can find a better deal for stuff on Amazon.com when I get sticker shock at CompUSA - all while standing next to the item in question.

But beyond doing things as simple as that it's mostly useless. It's much quicker to look up movie times on my PC before I leave the house, I now carry a Gameboy Advance SP for playing in waiting rooms - and I shop online in the first place rather than compare prices to the store.

The web is quite usable on a Palm with the Blazer browser - even reads Slashdot no problem (although the light index [slashdot.org] sometimes helps).

Re:It's pretty useless. (2)

Dahan (130247) | more than 10 years ago | (#8382830)

seeing if I can find a better deal for stuff on Amazon.com when I get sticker shock at CompUSA

How do you do that? Amazon US's mobile interface [amazon.com] isn't WAP, but HDML, which my phone (Siemens M46) doesn't support. I looked around a bit, and couldn't find a WAP inteface, so I ended up throwing together a quickie PHP script [azeotrope.org] that queries Amazon's XML interface and returns the results as WAP/WML.

Re:It's pretty useless. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8383573)

How do you do that? Amazon US's mobile interface isn't WAP

I think on my phone (Sprint PCS Touchpoint), I just go to the "Wireless Web" option, select "shopping", then "Amazon.com". It's possible that it's a customer service unique to Sprint (and it's also possible that Amazon has removed support for WAP since I last tried to use it more than a year ago).

Confusion about what WAP is (4, Insightful)

yelvington (8169) | more than 10 years ago | (#8380413)

There seems to be some confusion about what WAP is (including in some modded-up postings).

WAP is a family of protocols, documented here. [wapforum.org]

WML is an obsolescent markup code that is part of the WAP family. It has been "replaced" by XHTML Mobile Profile in the sense that phone manufacturers recommend XHTML-MP as the forward path. It has not been replaced in many phones that are still in the active user base.

Many people suggest that current Web standards (XHTML + CSS) mean there is no need for specialized support of handheld devices. This opinion generally is held by people who (a) do not actually use phone-based wireless browsers and (b) have not read the XHTML-MP standard and have not yet discovered that it might be nice to, for example, click and dial a phone number.

where i work (1)

self assembled struc (62483) | more than 10 years ago | (#8380422)

i am a wap developer.

we use wap to allow you to purchase ringtones and wallpapers for your phone. since you're accessing it from the device we can custom tailor the content to display items on the specific device can handle.

Rebranded (2, Informative)

tengwar (600847) | more than 10 years ago | (#8380486)

Yes, WAP is heavily used in Europe, but it's usually been branded as something else, e.g. T-Mobile's T-Zones or Vodafone Live. Calling it "WAP" now would be a marketing disaster, even though the various protocols are pretty good at their jobs. Blame the Nokia 7110 - that heap of second-hand silicon only implemented about half the standard, and the efforts of the early content providers to support it led to bad sites.

Re:Rebranded (0)

steeph (85070) | more than 10 years ago | (#8389460)

Not really. WAP goes via normal GSM communication while things like Vodafone Live or Imode communicate via GPRS. And that's a whole other thing. You could compare it to an always on IP connection.
WAP is hardly used in Europe and never has been. GPRS tough is becoming something quite big these days.

Re:Rebranded (1)

tengwar (600847) | more than 10 years ago | (#8395764)

No, you're wrong. Pick up a copy of the standards from WAPForum. WAP consists of several standards, e.g. WML (markup language), WTLS (secure transport), but it's all bearer independent. Oh, and you have an IP connection over both circuit-switched GSM and GPRS. incidentally, this is how I earned my living for several years, so I do know what I'm talking about.

i built a CMS with a WAP output module (1)

heldlikesound (132717) | more than 10 years ago | (#8380512)

I built a CMS that has a WAP output module. You can see the results of this at:

http://www.cloudcitydigital.com/selfaware/s/home /i ndex.wml

(you can view this in a web browser too to see the markup...)

It's neat, but valid, well written XHTML teamed with CSS, is a much more, "write once, view anywhere" solution.

So, i am retooling my entire system to output strict XHTML, formatted with CSS. No tables for layout, only CSS.

The book that inspired me to do this is "Designing with Web Standards" by the infamous Jeffery Zeldman. Fantastic book, and his thoughts on redesigning Slashdot to be more standards compliant are interesting as well..

What I do... (1)

Ibn al-Hazardous (83553) | more than 10 years ago | (#8380542)

...is check when then bus arives at my place. I live outside town, so I don't want to miss the bus and wait a whole hour. That's about the only service I use WAP for though. If I want to browse the 'net when I'm not by the 'puter - I use my iPAQ. :)

IRC (1)

BrookHarty (9119) | more than 10 years ago | (#8380679)

IRC [ironwolve.com] and other stuff. And that was on my CDPD phone, now its in GPRS/EDGE.

Thank god for T9. After using a keypad, you crave a thumbboard.

Geocaching (1)

harrkev (623093) | more than 10 years ago | (#8380744)

Geocaching from my phone. No more printing out paper logs, and I can even log a find from my phone. Cool stuff!

http://rtr.ca/geo [rtr.ca]

And if you don't know what Geocaching is, try http://www.geocaching.com [geocaching.com]

I use WAP for (1)

xutopia (469129) | more than 10 years ago | (#8380885)

absolutly nothing.

Flight gates and times (2, Interesting)

Jmstuckman (561420) | more than 10 years ago | (#8381327)

The only time that I really feel a need for WAP is looking up flight gates and status on the way to the airport. It's great to know if your flight is delayed ahead of time, but WAP tends to be too slow and clumsy for anything else.

A Wireless Data Cable (2, Informative)

TechnoPops (590791) | more than 10 years ago | (#8381383)

Honestly, I use WAP because I'm too cheap to buy a data cable for my phone. Whenever I want to put a MIDI ringtone or a wallpaper on my phone, I just put it up on my server (since these tend to be small and I have a 256kb upload connection, this usually takes less than 5 seconds of my time) and use my phone's browser to download it. Easy, simple, and I save myself 20 bucks.

As little as possible. (1)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 10 years ago | (#8381555)

I use Opera S60 for my GPRS browsing.

Mobile Eye Candy (1)

edward.virtually@pob (6854) | more than 10 years ago | (#8382853)

I hacked up a cgi gateway that lets me browse eye candy from my phone. By the way, does anyone know how to color text in WML? I know it's possible because CNN's wap pages do it, but none of the online tag references I have found mention any related attributes.

I use it to get laid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8383009)

Since I've got WAP, all girls in college are after me.

bus times (1)

Fat Cow (13247) | more than 10 years ago | (#8383241)

i used to use it tell me when the next bus was coming - the bus company had an html web interface for that data which I had to change to wml on my server

Train schedules (1)

jpkunst (612360) | more than 10 years ago | (#8383445)

I sometimes use WAP to look up (Dutch) train schedules when I don't have a net-connected computer nearby. The interface is clumsy, but it works.

JP

Bus times (1)

sben (71467) | more than 10 years ago | (#8387257)

Like jpkunst, I use it for real-time arrival information for Seattle busses [mybus.org] . Given a route number and a cryptic four-digit code associated with a bus stop (which you have to look up with a full HTML browser, not a WAP browser), it'll show you when the next bus or three are expected to arrive. The next bus is usually accurate to within a minute or two, which can be useful when deciding whether to wait for the faster bus or take the slower one that's arriving sooner.

Lost in houston (1)

DRACO- (175113) | more than 10 years ago | (#8383973)

Oi I loved my old cell phone with wap. I could check the weather for the day to make a hard fast decision on putting freight outside the warehouse for sorting into shipping containers or not. If I was lost I could goto yahoo and input my location and my destination and get returned a turn by turn deck (a series of pages that can be paged through yet not incurr another network access, therefore allow you to hang up the wap function and just read the turn by turn as you drive)

DRACO-

What's for lunch ? (1)

arska (145934) | more than 10 years ago | (#8384121)

The only thing I use WAP for is checking what's for lunch on campus: http://www.mensa.ethz.ch/wap/wapdispatch.asp?IDMen sa=1&fct=WAPTagesPlan
I study in the "Federal Institute of Technology" (ETH), so there is no need to call me a nerd.. =) lol

A

They took the 'C' out of WAP. (1)

scott_davey (552885) | more than 10 years ago | (#8384226)

I call it CWAP - it's useless. But that's the telco's fault, not the language. It had so much promise, too...

Mail (1)

BenjyD (316700) | more than 10 years ago | (#8384431)

I use it to check my email from time to time. I wrote a little PHP script using the imap module to do it. I can't imagine sending an email using it though!

Quite a few things (1)

cowbutt (21077) | more than 10 years ago | (#8384494)

Orange's "Where's my nearest?" function which uses the location of your current cell to find the nearest branch of XYZ Ltd, or the nearest XYZ restaurant/garage/whatever.

Googling for Linux compatibility when I see some neat toy at an attractive price.

Attempting to do some basic price checking. This is currently a weak spot, and I think there's a gap in the WAP arena for this.

Reading news headlines/stock prices when I'm in transit and without anything to read.

Checking train times.

--

May sound obvious but... (1)

rpjs (126615) | more than 10 years ago | (#8384613)

I use it to get information I need whilst on the move.

Typically as I walk to the station in the morning I'll check my local commuter rail company's real-time running information [setrains.co.uk] and the National Rail live departure board for my station [livedepart...ards.co.uk] to see how late my train is (it's only been on time three times since the new timetable came in last September!) so I know how fast I'll have to walk to catch it. As my train approaches Victoria I often check out London Transport's real-time news [transportf...don.gov.uk] to see if the Victoria line is OK or not. If not, I know to head for the bus station on arriving at Victoria rather than go to the tube station.

Coming home, I usually check out these things on the web at work before departing, rather than on my WAP phone, but if there is a problem, WAP is useful for finding out when it's likely to be resolved as it seems that the information on it is often more up to date than the information on the station announcements.

On my journey home I sometimes check out the BBC News headlines [bbc.co.uk] on WAP as I don't get in until after the early-evening news programmes have finished.

Sometimes if it's a Thursday when my fiancee is lecturing in London, we meet up after work and instead of heading back home, we'll look to see what's on at the cinema [orange.co.uk] and go and see a film if one appeals.

All the above links are to sites on the "real" web, but they all correspond to WAP sites I use regularly. They don't look as pretty in WAP, and it can be slow to get to what you want, as you have to work through more, smaller screens, but they do work.

Weather radar (1)

Jacco de Leeuw (4646) | more than 10 years ago | (#8384638)

I use WAP for radar images, similar to these [wetteronline.de] . Mainly when I'm on the road.

What WAP is used for (2, Insightful)

chrysalis (50680) | more than 10 years ago | (#8384658)

I don't use WAP myself. Typing on a phone keyboard and watching an ugly result on a tiny screen is really not attractive.

However I work for a national FM radio and we provide a bunch of related WAP site.

People really don't use WAP to check what is on air. Neither do they use it to get the frequency they can listen us, neither do they use it to read news about music. Well, they do, but only once, only very quickly.

What they are spending time on, and what they are wasting money for is the chat section. The chat features geolocalisation so they send stupid messages to nearby people, hoping for a fuck. I don't know whether it actually works, but at least they try a lot.

I wrote a WAP / WML portal (1)

linuxrunner (225041) | more than 10 years ago | (#8385475)

Hey, it's got a message board, multiple chat rooms, gallery, news, share links, and an admin section.

Nothing fantastic, but it's fun.

Check the sig.

Transportation (1)

LeftOfCentre (539344) | more than 10 years ago | (#8392307)

I use WAP for checking on the Stockholm public transport website [www.sl.se] (SL) how to get from point A to point B, or for checking whether any commuter trains are delayed and if so by how many minutes. I also occasionally check the national news sites or my bank account balance.

Real useful (for geeks) WAP Applications (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8393298)

- I use the WAP-Interface from mythtv(.org) to schedule my recordings
- I wrote a small WAP-CGI to control (search, download, cancel) my mldonkey(.org) p2p client

I use WAP all the time (1)

ChiralSoftware (743411) | more than 10 years ago | (#8395025)

WAP is not dead, far from it [chiralsoftware.net] . There are more WAP browsers in the world today than there are PCs. Some people say that WAP browsers will be replaced by mobile IE or mobile Opera, but this is also not true. Those browsers will only be on larger phones and anyway, the typical HTML page does not look good from those browsers. Most people still want cheaper, smaller phones, and those will only work with WAP. WAP was designed for mobile use, and HTML was designed for... well, I'm not sure. It was more of an accident then a design.

One thing holding WAP back has been that it is technically difficult to create a WAP site and it is very difficult to do device detection, which is essential for WAP. However, Wireless-Enabled Hosting [chiralsoftware.net] makes it much easier.

Btw, you can go to http://chiralsoftware.net from either your web browser or your WAP browser. One URL, one set of files works on both types of devices.

As our favorite British commedy group says "I'm not dead yet!"

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