August 2000

Pre-Commerce Wireless


The Good
Wireless Internet is as big now as B2B was six months ago. It's the next big thing, the new way to live faster better and cheaper. It's what customers today and tomorrow will want. It's the way content providers online are finally going to be able to earn money. It will drive 21st century commerce. It will be bigger than push, broadband and convergeance, combined!

The Bad
It's extremely slow, running at around 14kbps. It's ugly, using screens that show from 30 to 150 words at a time. It's akward, at best users can write only stuff like "i c u 2sday" with any speed. There's three competing content formatting standards that change every few months. And no one knows how to make money except the mobile phone service providers.

The Unknown
Still it's predicted in some circles that in the next few years wireless access to the internet will surpass today's typical PC setup. Doubtlessly some people will want games and game information through the wireless web. What can offer those people that's truly valuable?

The Wonderful World of Wireless

Hello, Kitty
Hello Kitty cartoon on an i-mode phone
From Phone Surfing for a Few Yen, New York Times
In America, the most exciting use of the wireless web is movie times and navigation directions. Our patchwork mobile phone standards here have stunted growth. In parts of Europe and Japan, where they have more uniform standards, development of wireless web applications is further along.

In Japan, teen-agers download still [color] cartoons on services provided by NTT DoCoMo, the country's leading wireless company, whose mobile Internet customers account for 30 percent of Japanese Web users. In Italy, daily horoscopes are the rage. In Finland and Sweden, one of the hottest applications is a mobile banking service allowing people to conduct nearly every banking transaction except withdrawing cash.
- Simon Romero, Cellular Phone Carriers Untangle a Wireless Web, New York Times, July 10, 2000
While there's many conflicting standards at work, there has been a push for uniformity within the industry. and a few of the major mobile phone makers developed WAP, "wireless application protocol," a standard for web content and applications.

3Gish phone
3G-ish phone from DoCoMo
While it has been supported by a number of cellphone makers and information providers, there is some notable WAP dissent, including some serious technical concerns. The exciting multimedia mobile phone development happening in Japan is not WAP compliant; their competing i-mode standard is under consideration by some American mobile providers. Also, a few of the same people involved with WAP are involved in Symbian, another wireless web standard; they're hedging their bets.

And already there's something else to look forward to: third generation, or "3G," the high-bandwidth standard for cellphones that should incorporate streaming video, music, one-click ecommerce, and a global standard for world peace.

Playing Around

There are many ways that can develop wireless. We have a complex array of providers and formats to choose from.

We should explore wireless technology, keeping an eye on

Revenue Potential

Other Wireless Gaming Sites

User Scenarios

Models for Wireless Wireless Conclusions

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