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New WAP phones offer Net access

September 23, 1999
Web posted at: 1:33 p.m. EDT (1733 GMT)

by Douglas F. Gray


(IDG) -- L.M. Ericsson Telephone Co. and Nokia both have announced the release of their new WAP (wireless application protocol)-compliant phones, offering a host of data services.

An emerging wireless technology standard, WAP allows users to access certain information on the Internet and corporate intranets. The technology is supported by the WAP Forum, whose members include Nokia, Ericsson, Microsoft and Motorola.

Ericsson's GSM (global system for mobile communications) 900/1800MHz dual-band R230 phone will be available first quarter next year in Latin alphabet and Chinese character versions.

In addition to having a built-in modem and infrared port, the phone will come with an Internet browser with a graphic display. The phone also will offer games, voice dialing and small messaging service (SMS), which allows quick transfer of short text messages, according to the company.

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Nokia has unveiled the 7100 series, its first WAP 1.1-compliant phones for the U.S. market, including the 7190, a GSM 1900 band phone. The 7160 is a tri-mode AMPS (advanced mobile phone service), TDMA (time division multiple access) 800 band and TDMA 1900 band phone. Both phones will be available in the first half of next year.

The 7100 series supports digital data at 9.6K bits per second (bps) over TDMA networks and 14.4K bps over GSM 1900-band networks. It also contains a built-in dictionary for SMS, voice dialing capabilities and games, according to a statement.

In related news, IBM, Sabre and Nokia are expected to demonstrate their new interactive wireless travel service. The service will allow users to change travel plans, access and receive data from airlines over the graphical display on their WAP phones.

CNN Interactive also has linked with Nokia to offer content from CNN Mobile in the U.S. The service has already been implemented in 12 countries since its launch in February. CNN Mobile delivers news, weather, sports and features updated throughout the day to subscribers' WAP-enabled phones.

Douglas F. Gray writes for the IDG News Service in London.

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