WAP Definition & Meaning

Short for the Wireless Application Protocol, a secure specification that allows users to access information instantly via handheld wireless devicessuch as mobile phones, pagers, two-way radios, smartphones and communicators.

WAP supports most wireless networks. These include CDPD, CDMA, GSM, PDC, PHS, TDMA, FLEX, ReFLEX, iDEN, TETRA, DECT, DataTAC, and Mobitex.

WAP is supported by all operating systems. Ones specifically engineered for handheld devices include PalmOS, EPOC, Windows CE, FLEXOS, OS/9, and JavaOS.

WAPs that use displays and access the Internet run what are called microbrowsers–browsers with small file sizes that can accommodate the low memory constraints of handheld devices and the low-bandwidthconstraints of a wireless-handheld network.

Although WAP supports HTML and XML, the WML language (an XML application) is specifically devised for small screens and one-hand navigation without a keyboard. WML is scalable from two-line text displays up through graphic screens found on items such as smart phones and communicators. WAP also supports WMLScript. It is similar to JavaScript, but makes minimal demands on memory and CPU power because it does not contain many of the unnecessary functionsfound in other scripting languages.

Because WAP is fairly new, it is not a formal standardyet. It is still an initiative that was started by Unwired Planet, Motorola, Nokia, and Ericsson.

Vangie Beal
Vangie Beal
Vangie Beal is a freelance business and technology writer covering Internet technologies and online business since the late '90s.

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