A worldwide leader in development tools and services is helping its customers create market-leading, innovative wireless technologies by offering them access to U.S. lab facilities for testing mobile applications and devices on a live wireless network. Metrowerks' newest Wireless Development Center opened this week at the company's Austin, Texas headquarters.
The Wireless Development Center provides developers an opportunity to "test drive" their applications on a live wireless network, and on a variety of different devices, before offering them to carriers or OEMs, or deploying to customers. This facility enables developers to improve performance, eliminate bugs, and address other issues before taking their products public.
The Austin Wireless Development Center includes full GPRS (2.5G), GSM, and CDMA networks with connectivity to the Internet and back office servers. Customers using the lab facilities have access to the latest wireless technologies available for development and testing, including application servers, routers, firewalls, decoding technology, and a wide range of mobile devices. In addition, customers using the labs can take advantage of on-site technical support from Metrowerks developer support personnel.
The Austin facility is Metrowerks' third Wireless Development Center. The company also has wireless labs in Basingstoke, England, and Stockholm, Sweden. Metrowerks was the first development tools company to provide a live mobile network for wireless applications testing.
Abstract Worlds (http://www.abstractworlds.com), an independent software vendor based in the UK, used Metrowerks' Wireless Development Center in Basingstoke to test StrangeMaze, a 3D maze racing game for Java mobile phones. According to Paul Ireland, founder of Abstract Worlds, "Being able to test our application using the same types of phones we're targeting, over an actual live network, was incredibly beneficial for us. We were able to get an extremely accurate sense of our application's performance and address several issues that we probably would have missed had we relied on alternative testing methods. In the end, we were able to deliver a better product."
Application developers are not the only group who can take advantage of the labs. Device manufactures can use the labs to test prototypes before sending their devices to carriers, while middleware developers can use the labs to test client/server applications.
There are several methods application developers use to test their applications, but most involve the use of simulators. However, simulators lack the real-world feel of an actual live network, and developers are often surprised to learn how differently their applications behave on a live network compared to a simulated one.
While standard, public networks can also be used for application testing, this approach can become expensive. Since over-the-air (OTA) activity on public networks is metered, developers must pay on a per byte basis. Development and testing often involve repetition of the same basic tasks, such as logging in or downloading a task list, and the small incremental charges associated with this OTA activity soon accumulate.
In addition, developers must purchase their own phones for testing and, in some cases, a Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) card, before even using the public network.
Customers using Metrowerks' Wireless Development Centers, however, simply pay a fee and have access to the entire network and the devices of their choice, as well as expert guidance from on-site specialists in application development.
"Metrowerks is known for providing world class development tools, but we also recognize that the testing phase of development is both complicated and crucial, especially in the wireless market," said Jim Welch, president and CEO, Metrowerks. "We've seen a high demand for these services at our European labs, and we wanted to provide the same offerings to developers here in the U.S. Making these lab facilities available highlights our commitment to helping our customers through the entire wireless application development cycle."
The Wireless Development Centers complement Metrowerks' broad portfolio of CodeWarrior(r) wireless development tools, which support Java(r) technology, Palm OS(r), Sharp Zaurus, embedded Linux, DragonBall(r), ARM(r) and Symbian OS(r) platforms.
The centers are also a key component of Metrowerks' Managed Developer Program, which includes a web-based platform to support a client's developer community, as well as application certification, technical support, training, marketing, SDKs, market-leading wireless development tools, and more.
For more information, or to sign up to use one of Metrowerks' Wireless Development Centers, developers may call (800) 377-5416 in the U.S. and Canada, or +1-512-997-4700 from outside the U.S. Or they may send email to firstname.lastname@example.org