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- ArgoGroup Wireless Wanderer technology finds only 11 per cent of WAP sites are fully usable, will monitor the compliance to M-services to facilitate the initiative -


Argogroup, the leading provider of device intelligence for the mobile Internet industry, today released a study showing that only 11 per cent of WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) sites are usable by all devices on the market according to Industry usability guidelines. The research, the first State of the Wireless Internet Study (SWIS) conducted by Arogroup, highlights implementation of WAP services as the major inhibitor of consumer uptake of the mobile Internet. It also illustrates both the challenges facing wireless content developers in an age of device diversity and the need for the common user interface guidelines enshrined in the recently announced M-Services initiative from the GSM Association. Argogroup also announced, that SWIS, and the Wireless Wanderer technology used to create it, will be used to continually assess the improvement in the usability of wireless services and thus will track the development of M-Services compliant content.

Richard Jelbert, CTO, Argogroup, said, "The Study clearly shows that the real issue facing the wireless Internet community is not WAP technology itself, which we hold to be fundamentally sound, but the way that information is being published. In a world where myriad devices are now on the market, content publishers are writing content to the lowest common denominator: this ensure that that they will work on the broadest number of devices but creates content that is neither very rich nor usable. Content developers are experiencing huge problems in creating applications that will work across a large variety of different handsets, causing considerable consumer frustration. The M-Services initiative provides guidelines for a common superstructure that sits above existing wireless standards such as WAP and enables the development of a standard windows-like Graphical User Interface (GUI): this will greatly reduce the interoperability problems highlighted by the SWIS Study and substantially improve the end-user experience."

Argogroup used its Wireless Wanderer technology to evaluate a sample of 1596 WAP sites, using the published usability guidelines that served as the foundation for the M-Services guidelines. The results showed that only a slim majority of applications (874 or 54 per cent) would work on at least one WAP device, indicating that almost half of all WAP applications simply will not function on any phone. Of those 874 valid sites, 422 (28 per cent of the total) experienced interoperability problems against selected device profiles. Of the 874 valid sites, only 182 (11 per cent of the total) experienced no usability issues.

Jelbert continued, "Argogroup is committed to adapting its Wireless Wanderer technology, currently tuned to the OpenWave specifications, to the as-yet unpublished M-Services usability recommendations. Monitoring the implementation of M-services compliant applications will greatly assist content developers in creating and successfully delivering compelling content that will drive user satisfaction with the mobile Internet. We believe that monitoring and feeding back on M-Services compliance will help to ensure that the usability of services will start to improve."

Jelbert added, "It is important to remember that there will never be a 'one size fits all market' - handset manufacturers will continue to innovate and differentiate their products. Content developers will therefore need to create applications that both take full advantage of advanced phones and still work on less fully featured phones. The experience that Argogroup has gained in targeting content to a variety of different devices will continue to provide value to the wireless development community."
Notes to Editors


The State of the Wireless Internet Study

WML (Wireless Markup Language) is the language of the mobile Internet and a slimmed down version of the HTML language on which the World Wide Web is build. Poorly written WML code will result in user inability to access wireless content and is the most common cause of a phone browser 'crashing'. Argogroup used its Wireless Wanderer technology to evaluate the WML code in a sample of 1596 WAP sites, using the usability guidelines from mobile services platform provider OpenWave as a benchmark.


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About Argogroup

Argogroup develops infrastructure software for the wireless Internet, delivering optimised content to wireless phones. By adjusting Internet content in real-time to the capabilities of individual devices, Argogroup protects against multiple, constantly evolving standards and device diversity, broadening the range of sources and devices that can exchange content. It enables network operators to offer higher quality data services over more handsets, content providers to write richer wireless applications once-only, and end-users to access an enhanced collection of content and services.

Founded in 1996, Argogroup is headquartered near Guildford, UK, and employs 70 people. It is currently ranked within Bain & Company's 'e25' list and was recently listed by Red Herring as one of Europe's top 5 wireless Internet companies. Argogroup is a member of the WAP Forum, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group, Phone.com's Alliance Program, the Nokia Artus, Ericsson, Motorola and Orange developer programmes and is part of the OpenGroup MMF and the W3C.

About M-Services

The GSM Association (GSMA) is concerned about fragmentation in the handset market and the inability to depend on specific handset features which it believes are necessary for the success of its members. To address this fragmentation, the GSMA has published feature guidelines for mobile phones that aim to help ensure that operators could depend on a certain set of consistent features and services in mobile handsets. This will allow the operators and content providers to focus on building globally available compelling applications that will excite users and create opportunities for new revenue streams based on a common application framework.
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