Trade developed through many stages, from barter in the old days to E-commerce today. What will be the tool for transactions tomorrow? In the past half decade, the Internet has revolutionized the practice and procedure of trade, giving birth to the new world of E-commerce. Now people can buy or sell goods and services practically 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, if they have access to the Web. Vendors have been able to tap into markets that were impossible to reach due to remote geographic location or other reasons. It is this "anytime, anywhere" technology that has fueled the new economy.
Although much has been accomplished toward this goal of being able to trade "anytime, anywhere," personal computer laptops are too bulky for M-commerce. The obvious choice is to empower the mobile telephone to be the preferred tool for M-commerce. The M-commerce phenomenon is centered in Asia and Europe (not the United States), where mobile telephony is further advanced and PC usage is much lower. Nokia, Ericsson, Motorola, and NTT DoCoMo, to name a few — as well as giants in banking, retail, and travel, including Amazon and Schwab — are developing their mobile E-sites; and all are settling on WAP.
WAP works with all major wireless networks — code division multiple access (CDMA), Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM), time division multiple access (TDMA), and Cellular Digital Packet Data (CDPD) — via circuit switched, packet, or short messaging service. It can be built into any operating system, including Windows CE, Palm OS , Epoc, or JavaOS. The Japanese mobile operator DoCoMo is the leader, with the first-mover advantage in bringing mobile Internet services to market by attracting 10 million subscribers to its i-mode service in less than one year. The Palm VII personal digital assistant (PDA) from 3COM can deliver wireless e-mail and information access service in the United States and the United Kingdom. Most current mobile Internet services are based on the WAP standard. Microsoft, which came a bit late to the game, gave its grudging approval recently by redoing its cellular telephone browser for WAP. , 
Analysts say such personalized services will be the meat of M-commerce. According to Gartner's research vice president, Phillip Redman, "the personalization of content and services that help consumers make their purchasing decisions" will be pivotal. Information is key to the overall success of M-commerce, and Cellmania and BroadVision are two wireless applications based on that premise. Cellmania's mEnterprise is intended to help companies bolster customer relations in part by increasing the productivity of traveling employees. mEnterprise integrates with a company's infrastructure and powers field-service and sales-force automation applications and mobile portals. BroadVision is offering BroadVision Mobile Solution to help businesses get a better line on the content customers want pushed to handheld devices by capturing customer data. It also can create home pages that site visitors can customize to their needs.
Schwartz, E., Wireless Application Protocol draws criticism, available at http://www.cnn.com/2000/tech/computing/03/14/wap.critics.idg/index.html, March 14, 2000.
Herman, J., The coming revolution in M-commerce, Business Communications Review, October 2000, pp. 24–24.