7.1 Can WAP devices use graphical images instead of just text?

The WAP specifications allow for the use of a graphics format called WBMP. It is a 1 bit (either black or white) version of the BMP format. Consequently, all graphics must, in order to be compliant to the specifications, be converted into wbmp.

There are certain limitations that must be observed, when using WBMP. An image should not be larger than 150 x 150 pixels. Bear in mind that the WAP device screen is very limited. For instance the Nokia 7110 screen is 96 pixels (width) by 65 pixels (height), so 150 by 150 pixels would look enormous, and take up more than the entire screen. Furthermore, the size of the graphics cannot exceed 1461 bytes, due to WAP phone memory limitations.

Not all WAP devices can display graphics. Consequently, the "alt" option in the <img> tag must be used, so that users of non-graphics WAP devices will be able to see an alternative textual representation instead of the graphics.

WAP Tiger has a very simple command line tool to convert normal BMP files to WBMP available. Both MS-DOS/Windows and Linux version available.

Most WAP device developer kits can also convert images to WBMP.

Macromedia has an export plugin for their Fireworks package that lets you export WBMPs. The PC version is available at and a Mac version is available at

WebCab.de has a neat online WBMP editor which will let you create a WBMP image from scratch, upload and edit an existing one or generate one from hex data in the URL. If you have access to a server side script language but not to a tool that can generate dynamic WBMPs on-the-fly, this last option can generate the images for you!

Surerange Analysis Ltd has a free product called ImageConvert Developer which is a single-threaded ActiveX control that converts images from GIF and JPEG to WBMP format. It comes with an example Visual C++ 6 project showing how easy it is to use.

Applepie Solutions provide an online, web based GIF to WBMP converter. You specify the URL of the file you want to convert, and it lets you download the converted image.

In some cases you might also want to display a WBMP image in a HTML environment. For this, has produced a Java and C based application that will output a GIF image from WBMP input as it would look on a small LCD display. The C version can be run as a CGI.

Related information

WAP Shareware's Software Directory

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