Mobile offers dual WAP, HTML browsing

Want the Net on your mobile? You'll love this

The world's first mobile phone to support both WML (Wireless Markup Language) and HTML browsing debuted at this week's GSM World Congress in Cannes.

The Benefon Q -- from the Finnish company Benefon -- is based on Microsoft's Mobile Explorer platform, which includes a dual-mode microbrowser that can automatically read content in either format.

Although the data transfer speeds on today's GSM network make HTML browsing unworkable, the introduction of GPRS (Global Packet Radio System) in the UK this summer means that users will be able to receive richer HTML content on mobile phones.

The phone also features an integral email client which enables access to personal and corporate mail services through standard Internet protocols. Its independence of any WAP portal means that it means that users are not tied to any operators' email system, such as Cellnet's Genie.

This is also the first mobile phone to offer support for location based services -- through support for Hewlett-Packard's Smart Location Server -- , predicted by senior IDC analyst Tim Sheedy to be one of the killer apps for mobile data services.

The phone, weighing 89g, will begin shipping in Europe this summer.

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