"The new set of wireless Net standards aren't so much a repudiation of the wireless application protocol as an affirmation of it.
"Last week's news that leaders of the mobile phone industry would adopt a new set of standards for wireless Internet was widely reported as yet another slap against WAP, the wireless application protocol. WAP has suffered a public-relations tailspin since its launch in Europe in early 2000, as critics attacked mobile phone Web services for being slow, difficult to use and - worse yet - uninteresting.
"But most of the media got the wrong spin on the story: The new standards, known as the Mobile Services Initiative, aren't so much a repudiation of WAP as an affirmation of it. Developed during three months this spring by the Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA), the guidelines draw heavily on the experiences and lessons learned by mobile software developer OpenWave Systems, which develops and distributes more WAP browsers than any other company. (Nokia comes in at a distant second).
"Indeed, many of the new guidelines are based on features that can be found in an upcoming OpenWave WAP browser, scheduled to begin shipping with phones in July.
"What the guidelines don't have is any connection with the term WAP. Instead, the guidelines are under the auspices of the GSMA, the trade group for GSM phone services, the most popular mobile-phone technology in Europe and Asia. They offer a second chance to carriers who want to deliver data over mobile phone networks, move away from the maligned WAP label and start over with a system that has fresh endorsements from GSM heavyweights such as Siemens, Nokia, Motorola and France Telecom.