Small and incredibly handy communications device. The modern GSM mobile can be used in dozens of countries, and usually has lots of value added gizmos and utilities built in. The mobile phone is seen as a new platform for lots of internet services. Starting with the much-maligned (unfairly) WAP, which is slow but has the advantage of working on existing GSM exchanges, mobile manufacturers are now moving toward GPRS, which is vastly superior as it is about four times faster and is packet-based (and hence cheaper). Using WML, a rigidly defined and ultra-compressible XML-based markup language, services can be accessed on a multitude of devices regardless of screen size, colour depth, or even the need for a keyboard. Mobile manufacturers are currently developing EDGE and 3G based devices that will allow for video and broadband services. With a bit of luck and perseverence, even a current generation WAP phone such as a Nokia 7110 can do anything a far more expensive and bulky PDA can do. This is probably why big players in the PDA market such as Symbian are leaping into bed with the major handset manufacturers.

The statistic Iain quotes above is entirely true by the way. It is predicted that in a few years there will be no need for phoneboxes in Britain and they will begin to be phased out. This conjecture prompted the comedian Frank Skinner to reply "What do they expect us to do then? Piss in the street?"