There's our Wap and their Wap, but it certainly ain't open

Now if you believe the ad-men, wireless application protocol (Wap) is plug-and-play, and if you listen to our excitable friends...

Now if you believe the ad-men, wireless application protocol (Wap) is plug-and-play, and if you listen to our excitable friends at Microsoft, much the same can be said of the latest pocket PC devices - small objects of desire, much like the latest HP Jornada 520.

Simon Moores

Tech talk

A PDA to die for, which mixes the functionality of a Star Trek 'Tricorder' with the best of Microsoft Office and a top of the range MP3 player.

Now call me simple-minded perhaps, but I actually thought that if I took the plunge and bought an Ericsson R320 Wap phone, I could pick up e-mail. I even thought that my Jornada, with its infra-red port, would, like my Palm Pilot and Psion 5, instantly see the Wap phone and allow me to expand beyond the relative simplicity of the Palm Pilot.

So will the cellular phone see the pocket PC? Not on your life! Is there a solution sitting on the HP, Microsoft of Ericsson Web site, bearing in mind that these firms are development partners? Of course not. You need to call Ericsson on 0870 899 0000 and ask for the file. One day, perhaps, someone will let me into the secret, but too exhausted to struggle any further with the PDA, I moved on to configuring the Ericsson for Web access.

Rule number one, the manual is no help at all. Neither is the Web site. Vodafone happens to be my service provider and its Web site isn't that helpful unless you happen to have a Nokia phone. If you hadn't noticed already, mobile phones remain as configuration-friendly as a cornered rat and Wap is no exception. Vodafone is very friendly and helpful but of course it would be, because finding out how to configure one's phone involves calling a 0990 number at premium rates.

So can I pick-up e-mail? "I'm sorry, Ericsson phones aren't supported." I try and discover why. Vodafone, I'm told, has a partnership with Nokia. So? Wap is Wap isn't it?

There's our Wap service and there's their Wap service. If you use our Wap service, you can't always use their Wap service. Got it?

Connectivity between devices is seamless, as long as you have the right device.

Which devices work best with each other remains a trade secret. So if you're like me, it's best to have three phones and five PDAs in just to make sure!

Simon Moores is chairman of The Research Group

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