3 looks to Brew up applications
Qualcomm finally gets Brew apps into the UK?
Qualcomm has proudly announced that UK operator 3 is intending to sell handsets incorporating Qualcomm's Brew technology, though it's not saying when, or which handsets exactly.
A full Brew deployment by a network operator is much more than a handset application environment, requiring considerable server-side infrastructure to support both application distribution and capabilities such as in-application billing and application rental.
It also means handsets locked down, with the network operator having compete control over what capabilities they allow their customers to have. Even installing a ring tone or changing a background graphic may require operator approval, which can frustrate users.
Qualcomm has been desperate to get Brew into Europe, but with very limited success in a market so dominated by Nokia. Nokia sees no reason to put more power into operators' hands and, in common with most manufacturers, it makes handsets which can (generally) take applications and content from anywhere. Operators might love the power, but few are geared up to manage handsets in the way Brew makes possible.
Developers creating Brew applications love the flexible billing, and have apparently used the platform to make over a billion dollars since it was launched in 2001 - the ability for in-game charging and rental models increases revenue considerably.
As all Brew applications are signed by the operator, the security risks are also largely mitigated; this means Brew applications can access low-level resources in a way that Java and Symbian hope to emulate with their respective signing programmes. As security becomes more of an issue on phones, Brew handsets are likely to lead the area for some time.
It seems unlikely 3 is going to stop selling phones from Nokia any time soon, so the question is what proportion of its handsets will be Brew-based, and what server-side support will 3 provide? Once we know that, we'll have a better idea if Qualcomm's triumphant tone is justified. ®
Interesting. "Traditionally", Brew has been coupled with the rest of Qualcomm's CDMA infrastructure. 3 is intending to have 3GSM Brew handsets?
As for the other poster's questions: the "big V" as it were here in the states tries to lock down phones such that ringtones, screen backgrounds etc. all must be purchased... not too successfully. It's still easy to load 'em on with a data cable. Other u.s. providers that use Brew don't lock things down, 3gp, mp3, etc still can be loaded via bluetooth, browser, data cable without any tricks on those phones.
As for increased GPRS usage... Naw. Using this system, you go into a "Get It Now" app, it pulls a little data for the list of apps, and then it downloads the app when you choose to buy it or get the free trial of the app. Getting ring tones etc. via these apps, it downloads a list of tones, downloads a sample if you can preview the ringtone, and pulls it down if you purchase it. That is, data use shouldn't be any higher than non-brew.
As a 3 Network Contractee
I do hope that this wont ruin the idea that I have *some* control over my handset.
Can anyone verify?
Will I still be able to pop an mp3 file from my computer and set it as a ringtone?
Will my phone still use that awesome well designed SE firmware?
Also, GPRS traffic utterly kills the battery of my k800i...if this Brew thing means my phone uses GPRS more, it will mean my handset is significantly less useful.
Not entirely true...
"It also means handsets locked down, with the network operator having compete control over what capabilities they allow their customers to have. Even installing a ring tone or changing a background graphic may require operator approval, which can frustrate users."
There isn't anything about BREW which stops users from installing their own ringtones or background graphics - this is a choice that the operator makes when they roll BREW out to their users. Don't mix up what operators (particularly certain US operators starting with 'V') decide to do with their handsets with what BREW requires!
BREW does provide facilities to change ringtones or background graphics programattically, however, and there are many BREW applications out there which allow just that.
Probably the most significant shortcoming of BREW compared with Series 60 / Windows Mobile / MIDP is that because of the strong developer identification requirements there isn't a way of getting "free" or "hobbyist" applications onto the handset at the moment. Which is a shame.