Wednesday, June 04, 2008

New Things BREWing in Wireless

Mobile content has become a hot area of development as everything goes more and more wireless. A cell phone is no longer just a cell phone. It's an information and entertainment device that also makes and receives phone calls. Any mobile device that isn't also a portable computer, gaming console, music machine, GPS navigation system or video player gets ignored in favor of those that are. One of the key technologies in making those 3G and 4G technologies work in wireless handhelds is BREW, and new things have been BREWing at their just completed conference.

What's BREW? It stands for Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless. In other words, a technology that enables multimedia applications to function in a wireless device. BREW was created by Qualcomm in 2001 as an applications development for CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) mobile phone networks, such as the ones operated by Verizon and Sprint. It's been expanded to include GSM networks, which include AT&T, Alltel, T-Mobile and the rest of the world. BREW applications run on the BREW RTOS or Real Time Operating System, much like PC applications run on Windows or MacOS.

So, what's new with BREW? One big improvement is plan to integrate Adobe Flash technology into the BREW platform. This should be available in the fall of this year. That's not too far away for developers to get ramped up with new tools. But the good news is that developers can use their existing Adobe tools, including some popular ones contained in Adobe Creative Suite 3, to quickly port their Flash applications for BREW.

Qualcomm is also introducing a new framework called Plaza for creating widgets. It's an open standards-based system for developing modular internet applications that can run on many platforms. Such widgets are popular for delivering content from Websites and information services.

What's this all mean for users? Clearly, the mobile application experience is going to be richer and more diverse in the near future. Apple and BlackBerry have set expectations high for both personal and business use. Many new wireless devices will certainly expand the range of content and interactivity available to users on the go.

For a rich selection of BREW enabled and other wireless devices and cellular phones, browse now at Cell Phone Plans Finder.

Follow Telexplainer on Twitter