QUALCOMM Incorporated (Nasdaq: QCOM), a leader in digital wireless communications and advanced electronic messaging solutions for the Internet, today announced it has developed an open applications platform for Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA)-based wireless devices which provides solutions for the wireless industry as it moves toward wireless-Internet convergence. The platform, QUALCOMM's Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless (BREW), is a very thin applications environment that provides applications developers with an open, standard platform for wireless devices on which to develop their products. The BREW platform will leverage the capabilities available in QUALCOMM CDMA Technologies' (QCT) integrated circuits, system software and Wireless Internet Launchpad feature software, enabling development of very feature-rich applications and content while reducing memory overhead and maximizing system performance. End users will be able to download applications over the air through their carrier's network and configure their wireless devices to suit their personal requirements. The BREW platform will be provided and supported by QUALCOMM Internet Services (QIS), a newly formed division of QUALCOMM focusing on CDMA applications and services development.
"Compelling applications will generate consumer demand for wireless Internet access, speeding the deployment of next-generation CDMA wireless services. Until the BREW platform, no widespread, uniform and powerful platform existed for wireless devices. The BREW platform allows third-party software developers to create these new applications for the growing wireless market," said Dr. Paul E. Jacobs, executive vice president and next president of QUALCOMM. "QUALCOMM's chipset, handset and software development expertise, and our QUALCOMM Ventures strategic investment organization, uniquely position the Company to create a developer community to power the development of applications and services that will make the wireless Internet truly useful to consumers worldwide."
"For data applications, the wireless industry is currently in the situation the PC industry faced in the early 1980s. Device manufacturers are developing applications for their own hardware or must pay a few select developers to work with them on the arduous task of creating and integrating just a few applications on just a few handset models," said Peggy Johnson, senior vice president of QUALCOMM and general manager of QUALCOMM Internet Services. "In the PC industry, this led to fragmentation of resources and platform dead-ends. The BREW platform, which works on today's cdmaOne networks, encourages applications development by providing a standard platform for CDMA, the wireless technology of choice for the next generation."
QUALCOMM has signed memoranda of understanding (MOU) with several wireless carriers, manufacturers and developers, including Verizon Wireless and Leap (Nasdaq: LWIN) in the United States, Korea Telecom Freetel (KTF), Pegaso in Mexico, Samsung, Kyocera Wireless Corp., and a wide variety of developers (see related Developers release issued Jan. 31, 2001). QUALCOMM is also working on BREW initiatives with Japan's KDDI.
The BREW platform will enable carriers to differentiate their products and services and increase airtime usage while maintaining optimal bandwidth management, thus increasing their return on investment as they expand their wireless data services. Carriers will have access to a wide range of applications choices and will be able to roll out these services quickly, since the BREW platform enables the decoupling of applications development from hardware development cycles. End users will be able to update their BREW-enabled handsets by deleting old programs and downloading new ones.
"Verizon Wireless is living up to our reputation for quality and innovation in the wireless marketplace," said Gary Schulman, president of Verizon Wireless' new Wireless Internet and Data Division. "Working with QUALCOMM to present the BREW platform means Verizon Wireless customers will get a broad array of innovative applications and services quickly. The BREW platform will enrich our customers' experience."
QUALCOMM has developed server software, the QIS Middleware product, that will authenticate applications that have passed compatibility testing, distribute these applications to carrier networks, handle end-user application downloads, and manage billing transactions for developers and carriers. The Company expects to sign agreements with carriers under which QUALCOMM will charge a BREW enablement fee and receive a portion of the fees paid by end users for BREW-enabled applications.
QUALCOMM is in active discussions with other major CDMA carriers worldwide and expects to announce subsequent agreements in the near future. BREW-enabled applications and services are expected to start becoming available in some regions by the third calendar quarter of this year.
The BREW applications platform will be license-free to device manufacturers. It will reduce software development costs, shorten time to market and increase manufacturers' ability to differentiate their products. Manufacturers will now be able to access third-party developers more easily, gaining efficiency as they seek to bring new applications to their hardware. They will be able to offer applications across their product mix and integrate existing BREW applications onto new models simply and quickly.
The BREW platform has been designed for wireless handsets by QUALCOMM Internet Services from the ground up. It has a very small footprint in memory -- less than 100 Kbytes. This means it will enable manufacturers to offer BREW-enabled applications to the largest segment of their user base, carrier customers with mass-market handsets. QUALCOMM expects that this will make a large and extremely varied choice of applications available to them as developers respond to the opportunity to create applications for CDMA-based wireless products which are expected to be used by more than 248 million subscribers by 2004 (source: EMC).
QUALCOMM is in active discussions with other manufacturers and expects to announce subsequent agreements in the near future.
Offered on QCT's Mobile Station Modem (MSM) and Mobile Station Processor (MSP) integrated circuits, the BREW platform integrates with the system software. By the end of calendar 2000, QCT shipped a cumulative total of over 133 million MSM integrated circuits to CDMA wireless device manufacturers worldwide. QCT's market leadership enables QUALCOMM to open up a very large worldwide market to applications developers. The Company also is prepared to BREW-enable chips from other wireless chipmakers.
The BREW platform allows developers to write applications without having to learn how to work with complex chip system software. It provides access to the Wireless Internet Launchpad suite of system software extensions, which includes multimedia, connectivity, positioning, user interface and storage functionality. QUALCOMM has signed MOUs with developers covering a full range of applications, from navigational software to games and music.
Because the BREW environment is neutral about the programming language in which an application is written, developers have a great deal of flexibility. Native applications will be written in the familiar C/C++, but browsers, Java applications or applications written in other languages will be supported as well. The BREW SDK includes a number of Windows-based tools that will allow developers to create and test their applications in a standard development environment for specific phones.