Wireless hype was all but obliterated last week when IT research group, IDC reported a mere 100,000 individuals accessed the Internet through a wireless network in 2000, equating to only 1.2 per cent of total Net users.
"Mobile Internet users are currently just a pin in the haystack compared to total Internet users", the report said.
What's more, the protocol's
link with PC-based technology is being exposed as a myth. Telecommunications manufacturers and service providers are set to reap the biggest rewards from any wireless revolution, according
"Most mobile Internet users in Australia use WAP-enabled GSM mobile phones as their access device. As a result, most users have the gateway portal for their access predefined by their mobile telephone service providers," said the report.
For this reason, IDC believes both the telecommunications service providers and device manufacturers are positioned to emerge as winners in the wireless portal space. A common misconception has arisen with regard to the "mobile Internet", that it can be regarded as a development of the PC-based Internet.
Arguments about the limitations of the mobile Internet, largely based on the poor ergonomic fit of mobile type devices as input-output terminals for rich content, are rooted in this misconception. IDC believes the mobile Internet will be marked by several key differences to the PC-based Internet. Mobile access devices do not fit the "browser" paradigm well, hindered by limited media output capabilities, cumbersome interfaces and relatively slow download times.