A significant amount of media coverage has been given to the Wireless Web of late. It seems you can’t turn around without seeing some new prognostication, press release or advertisement on how the Wireless Web is going to change everything. The scary thing is that, all hype aside, it’s probably true&#151wireless will have a profound impact on businesses and consumers alike. It just a matter of when, not if. The predictions are that sometime between 2003 and 2006, depending on who’s study you believe, there will be over 1 billion wireless phone subscribers worldwide and anywhere between 50 and 80 percent will have data capability. But, as we embedded developers are often quick to point out, cellular phone and PDAs are only part of the story. Mobile devices go beyond just those two examples to include digital cameras, MP3 players, diagnostic equipment and much more. As well, there are many non-mobile devices that can make use of wireless technology&#151remote monitoring and other field assets all can derive benefits from using wireless access to the Internet.

The remainder of this article attempts to separate the reality from the hype surrounding the wireless web. This is a technology in its infancy and the next 18 months or so it will be entering its formative years. As with any emerging technology, its path of evolution is still somewhat hazy. Companies are scrambling to figure out how it will impact them and how they can use it to their full advantage.