Mobile Web

As much as Web sites need to cater to a number of browsers, they now need to cater to a number of devices, as more and more people are using their mobile phones, PDAs (personal digital assistants), and other mobile devices to connect to the Internet. However, visits from mobile devices are likely to be quite different from the visits from PCs. Visits from mobile phone users are likely to be more purpose driven or task specific, as opposed to leisurely browsing from PCs. 

Just as with PCs, mobile phones can have different operating systems and different browsers, both affecting the way that Web sites and Web pages are viewed and used. In addition to this, Web pages are viewed on far smaller (and nonstandard) screens, and navigation is controlled through a keyboard or limited scrolling device. There are also a number of different ways that mobile phones and devices connect to the Internet. In particular, mobile phones can use the GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) network—where access is via GPRS (General Packet Radio Service),EDGE (Enhanced Data Rates of GSM Evolution), or 3G (third generation), depending on availability—or Wi-Fi-enabled devices can connect to wireless networks. 

WAP stands for wireless application protocol and is a technology platform aimed at making Web sites accessible to mobile phones, despite the small screens and keypad limitations. WAP is essentially a wireless data connection and browser that can read a pared-down version of HTML (hypertext markup language). If a phone has only WAP access, it can only access Web sites that have been developed for this type of access. 

More sophisticated phones and devices, and increasingly almost all phones sold are falling into this category, can use HTML browsers that have been specifically designed for mobile phones. These are pared-down versions of browsers that run on PCs or notebooks and have been specifically designed to take into account the limitations of mobile devices. In particular, browsers need to accommodate both the low bandwidth and the low memory capacity of mobile devices. Mobile browsers also need to cater to the navigation limitations of mobile devices as well as the fact that navigation is not standard across the various models of phones.


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