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The Ultimate Fast Food For The News Junky

MEDIACOM-RELEASE-THE-HERLAD-ONLINE

THE ULTIMATE FAST FOOD FOR THE NEWS JUNKY

Herald Online becomes first NZ-based news provider to offer wireless service to WAP phones.

The New Zealand Herald Online is now delivering its comprehensive news service to WAP-enabled cellphones through the iTouch portal. "It's a comprehensive service," says Herald Online editor Neil Sanderson, "including breaking news, New Zealand news, world news, business news and of course sports news and sports results."

Browse by phone

If you can find it at www.nzherald.co.nz, you'll probably find it on your phone, Sanderson says. "With a WAP phone, you get our editorial content, including specialist reports on Entertainment, Technology, Employment, Property and Motoring - all in the palm of your hand." Sanderson says the Herald's WAP service is easy to access. "Users will find our WAP site is structured very much like our Website. You dial in to iTouch, select the Herald Online service and browse from there. Click on a headline, and you'll get the full text of any story. You can also choose the breaking news service from IRN, which is updated throughout the day, just as it is on the Website." The main difference between WAP and Web, is that mobile phones display only the text of articles - no photos.

New to NZ

WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) technology is very new to New Zealand, as iTouch NZ Business Development Manager Declan O'Callaghan says. "WAP phones have been widely available in New Zealand for about 4 weeks now. The cost of the service is minimal. After buying a WAP phone, and subscribing to the data service, all you pay is your current call rate."

O'Callaghan says the arrival of WAP in New Zealand is very exciting. "We are pleased at who is using this service: young people, business people, anyone who wants to be in touch wherever they are."

WAP technology was developed by cellular phone companies and, as O'Callaghan points out, it is a growth area. "The number of users is increasing by the day, especially with the Nokia 7110 and Ericsson R320 being aggressively marketed," he says. "There's a couple of thousand phones estimated to be online in New Zealand at the moment and, with services like the Herald becoming available, that's only going to grow."

How does it work?

Patrick Van Rinsvelt, technical manager of Wilson and Horton Interactive (operators of the Herald Online) says WAP technology is a workable information solution. "Most people are familiar with the Web and have heard of HTML (Hyper Text Mark-Up Language). WAP phones work on a similar principle, using WML - that's Wireless Mark-Up Language."

WML is the cellphone version of HTML. You dial your destination and go to your chosen site. Information is stored in a `card stack' and is accessed by your cellphone for you to browse through at your leisure.

WAP-enabled phones are the same size as `ordinary' cellphones, with a slightly large display screen. Van Rinsvelt, who packs a WAP phone on his belt, believes we will see more companies in NZ using WML. "WAP is perfect for the person who wants their news and information while on the run," he says.

ENDS

MEDIA RELEASE FROM THE HERLAD ONLINE

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