In this chapter
Mobile devices, such as Internet-enabled cell phones and personal digital assistants (PDAs), have become increasingly popular because they enable the user to access data and read e-mail from almost anywhere at any time. Although just now becoming popular in the United States, devices such as Internet-enabled cell phones have come into common use in Europe and Japan, to the extent that in Japan, more people access the Internet and read their e-mail with cell phones than with personal computers.
A large number of different types of devices are considered mobile devices. Cell phones generally have the least capability of mobile devices, with displays that are limited in size , often to only two or three lines of monochrome text. Cell phones in Japan generally have better capabilities than those elsewhere in the world. These capabilities include 16-bit color displays, 24-voice sound, e-mail, and a standard 64Kbps data rate. The newer third-generation phones that are already available in Japan have data rates of 384Kbps and are capable of displaying streaming video. Services that are offered on these phones include subscription television, music, and mapping.
Handheld computers are generally on the other end of the mobile device spectrum, with capabilities that rival desktop computers of only a few years ago. Regular HTML pages could be displayed on a handheld computer if it were reformatted for a smaller screen. Handheld computers are likely to continue increasing in power and capability as components continue to decrease in size and cost. PDAs are currently smaller and less capable than handheld computers, but this is changing as PDAs gain capability and handheld computers become smaller and easier to use.
The wide variation of capabilities as well as multiple markup languages make it difficult to develop Web applications that can be used by any mobile device. To aid in the development of mobile Web applications, Microsoft has an add-on module for ASP.NET called The Mobile Internet Toolkit. In this chapter, you will learn about the different types of markup used on mobile devices and how to use Microsoft's Mobile Internet Toolkit to develop applications that can be used on any mobile device.