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what wireless needs

2000-12-12 16:47:48+00 by Dan Lyke 3 comments

Local Rant: What wireless needs is a modest proposal for how to give disappointed WAP users (as documented in the recent Nielsen Norman Group WAP study) what they want while lowering digital cell phone bandwidth usage. Probably nothing original, I'm still fumbling around this wireless space and amazed that nobody seems to get it.

[ related topics: Web development Wireless User Interface ]

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#Comment made: 2000-12-12 21:30:59+00 by: baylink [edit history]

[ delete me ]

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:30:44+00 by: baylink

Oh. "Push". :-) Yes, Dan; you're right; pagers can still do this; Motorola ReFlex/Skywriter from Skytel can do it even more impressively. The problem is precisely that WAP, and even CDPD, are *point to point* air interface protocols. I don't believe either of them directly supports multicast/broadcast, alas. It's possible I could be wrong, but until the bandwidth usage curves cross, it's better to do it at the server, and narrowcast. And that takes a *lot* of listeners... To expand: that's basically a broadcast model, and there are two reasons why it's a better bet, when it is: inability to request specific data (one-way paging) and bandwidth unloading (when you've got a million users in a metro and they *all* want traffic or weather). But if neither of those limitations exists, IMHO, pull's better than push. Now, you can do "pseudo-push": sort of like AvantGo (only different): the client has a refresh list and grabs whenever new stuff comes up, so it's there without delay when the *user* asks for it. In case you hadn't noticed, I have a *lot* of humble opinions about this space; ask away... ;-)

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:30:44+00 by: Dan Lyke

Yep, push. Kinda. The studies that look at cell phone use seem to show that people want interactivity for alleviating boredom. But for many of the places where interactivity would be useful you really want an application framework that's better at utilizing that teensy-weensy screen than HTML, and since getting Americans to use phones that do something other than allow us to interrupt real humans with stupid questions at inopportune times seems to be slow in coming, doing something that attacks their use patterns and needs right now seems like a good idea. Besides which, we're already at that point on the bandwidth curve. The stories about today's spectrum auctions aren't about "3G", they're about providing coverage. Here in the Bay Area there are stretches along 80, 880, and 101 where your chances of being able to make a cell call during commute hours hovers around nil. Pull's also better than push when the latency is high, and with cell phone connections it is. Until there are background channels available, TellMe[Wiki] is going to be a faster interface than anything which requires setting up and breaking down circuits, and doing circuits uses bandwidth that costs.