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   Re: Why I Hate Palmtops (was: Re: SGML, XML and SML)

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  • From: Patrick Phalen <xml-dev@teleo.net>
  • To: xml-dev@ic.ac.uk
  • Date: Sat, 27 Nov 1999 09:59:04 -0800

[Michael Champion, on Sat, 27 Nov 1999]

:: >What sort of people *do* want to access the Web through a tiny cellphone
:: > screen
:: People sitting in traffic jams, taxis, airports, hotel lobbies, waiting
:: rooms, etc. where they don't have convenient or affordable access to an
:: internet device with a conventional form factor.  I remember sitting in a
:: traffic jam in Manila last month, and a colleague in the car had an "a HA!"
:: experience where he grokked the concept of cellphone web browsing for the
:: first time.... some question came up that we could answer in 30 seconds with
:: web access.

I have been developing automated news services, including
"real-time" traffic reports delivered on the Web and via email in major
U.S. markets for five years. They have always been extremely
popular. Over time, the core text traffic reports have been enhanced
with richer information (fine-grained geocoding, color maps overlayed
with speed sensor data and incident markers, webcams, etc.) which isn't
currently appropriate for tiny displays. Yet the text information
continues to sit at the core, is timely and invaluable to commuters,
and can be repurposed as email or WML.

We're already delivering news, weather, and traffic services via email
to pagers as we wait for XML tools and standards (and WAP) to cohere.

I know firsthand that commuters in traffic nightmares like New York,
Boston, and Silicon Valley are more than willing to put up with the
shortcomings of palmtop displays to get timely traffic data, along with
their stock market and weather information.

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