[Wired] HDML, Take Two.

I Find Karma (adam@cs.caltech.edu)
Mon, 11 May 1998 13:55:25 -0700

If FoRK is a scrapbook, then I want to save the following:
> "There's this uncharted water that says John Q. User wants a device
> giving him access to everything all in one device."

Yes! Yes! I want it! *I* want it! Access to life, the universe and
everything, all in one device!! I want it now!!!!!

[calming down]

For the record, the WAPforum is at


Rohit, your homework is to put WAP in the context of *TP.

> HDML, Take Two
> by Chris Oakes, Wired, 4:00am 11.May.98.PDT
> The vision for Net-enabled cell phones, circa Spring 1997:
> The wireless worker gets a browser on his mobile phone. Out in the
> field -- or trapped in traffic -- he sits happily linking through (very)
> slimmed-down Web pages on a tiny screen in his productive palm. Marking
> up the "pages" would be HTML's thinner cousin, HDML, the handheld device
> markup language. HDML would use the model of the World Wide Web and its
> protocols but in a more efficient language, suited to the limited size,
> memory, and processing power of the wireless world. HDML's author and
> biggest promoter, Unwired Planet, submitted the language to the World
> Wide Web Consortium in hopes of making it a standard.
> But a year later, the proposal is still just that, cell phones aren't
> delivering on the vision, and the markup language has in fact been
> subsumed into a newly published protocol called WAP (Wireless
> Application Protocol).
> WAP was originally introduced in June 1997, and was developed by the
> founding members of the WAP Forum -- Ericsson, Motorola, Nokia, and
> Unwired Planet. It drew together elements of HDML and the handheld
> device transport protocol, both originally developed by Unwired Planet.
> Ben Linder, vice president of marketing for Unwired Planet, said that
> now WAP has been refocused to meet the standards of the cell phone
> universe, rather than that of the Web.
> "In order to really get the entire industry behind it, we basically
> needed to make it really telephony-centric," Linder said. Thus the
> Wireless Application Protocol Forum, led by Unwired Planet, announced
> the publication of the first version of WAP yesterday, along with
> additions to its growing list of members.
> HDML reappears in a new wireless markup language inside the WAP
> protocol, where it is accompanied by a script language, wireless
> telephony application interface, and various other languages and
> protocols for transactions, security, and messaging.
> "The WAP effort began with HDML as the basis," Linder said. The
> protocol is designed to work across wireless phone technologies
> including GSM, CDMA, PHS, and others.
> But if HDML didn't light the market on fire, why should WAP?
> Because two things are different from a year ago, according to Linder.
> First, the number of cell phone makers with plans to add the necessary
> LCD screens to standard, affordable cell phones (sub-US$200) is growing
> -- "even Motorola is getting screens on their phones now where for years
> they hadn't," he said. Second, manufacturers have a financial,
> cost-saving incentive to pack browsing technology into their phones.
> "What's important is what carriers can do with these browsers for
> their own internal functions," Linder said. A primary example is
> "electronic customer care." Rather than customers relying on expensive
> personnel to get billing information from their provider, companies can
> save costs by making such information cell-phone browsable. "Typically
> you have to dial 611 and ask an operator. That's a very expensive
> proposition for the carrier," he added.
> Thus WAP is more attractive to providers, and orders for WAP-enabled
> cell phones are expected to grow. "Email and content will be riding on
> top of these," Linder said.
> Andrew Seybold, editor of the Outlook, a monthly newsletter focused on
> the mobile computing and communication industry, doesn't question the
> allure such cost-saving functions will have for cellular providers.
> He still thinks, however, that the underlying question that stunted
> HDML still undermines WAP.
> "The question is, are you going to use a 3-line-by-16-character phone
> [for Net access], or are you going to use a device that's better
> designed for the job?" The verdict on the answer is still out, Seybold
> said.
> "There's this uncharted water that says John Q. User wants a device
> giving him access to everything all in one device." The success of
> Internet-enabled cell phones depends on that scenario, he says. But
> Seybold thinks it may be that people end up preferring a variety of
> devices for different purposes: a cell phone for voice, a PalmPilot for
> personal data, a computer device for information access, and so on.
> The indications of WAP's success will not be quick in coming. "I think
> it's going to be a year or more. You've got to get a product out there,
> get the Internet sites up."
> Which brings up what may be yet another strike against WAP: the need
> to develop compatible content and services. Since it's an entirely
> different protocol from those serving the Web, site content would have
> to be reformatted in WAP's wireless markup language in order for users
> to access it with a cell phone. Starting a content base from scratch,
> when most such services think only in HTML, is a formidable challenge.
> But it's just a matter of evolution, argues Linder, who disagrees with
> the notion that WAP signals the failure, or at least the overreaching of
> HDML. "I don't think it over-reached. I just think we happened to have
> found additional applications for the technology ... It's just an
> evolution to solving a slightly different problem."
> The signs of success will show by year's end in Linder's estimation.
> He expects US cellular carriers to begin delivering phones with built-in
> browsers within six to twelve months.


I envisioned I imagined I was looking into the mirror,
To see a little bit clearer,
The rottenness and evil in me...
Put me in the hospital for nerves and then they had to commit me,
You told them all I was crazy,
They cut off my legs now I'm an amputee...
I'm not sick, but I'm not well.
And I'm so hot, 'cause I'm in hell.
I'm not sick, but I'm not well.
Is it a sin to live this well?
-- Harvey Danger, "Flagpole Sitta"

PS - Anyone else shocked that Deep Impact did $42 million this weekend?