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Qualcomm looks to emerging markets to up Brew

New lease of life in mass market 3G

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Qualcomm's Brew content platform has enjoyed something of a revival lately, moving beyond its CDMA base into the growing market for affordable mobile web devices. AT&T has adopted the system, and so Qualcomm is holding its annual Brew conference, now renamed Uplinq, with a new sense of confidence.

CEO Paul Jacobs will kick off Uplinq tomorrow, with a keynote focused on keeping Brew relevant by leveraging its famous network efficiency, and creating "the next generation of extraordinary consumer experiences".

The silicon giant says its developer program is gaining traction, but while AT&T may be its flagship partner outside the CDMA world, the real opportunities lie in emerging economies. Brew is optimized for delivering content efficiently and can support midmarket devices and network connections, which is making it appealing for carriers' mass market offerings and for developing nations.

So many of the developments outlined in Uplinq will focus on key markets like India, where Qualcomm has signed two deals in a week. Last week it announced a collaboration with phone design firm SmartPlay Technologies on 3G devices and related services, which will create low cost handsets running Brew. And a few days later, it followed up with an enhanced partnership with Mumbai-based apps and games developer MobiTrail. This company has already created over 50 products for Brew, targeting customers in India and other Asian growth markets like Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam.

"Our strategy is to deliver mobile applications and games that create an engaging and enjoyable experience for the end user through Brew MP," said MobiTrail CEO Vikas Kedia in a statement. "The benefits and opportunities that come with developing on Brew MP are significant, and it has allowed us to become extremely confident in launching our new products in new markets, like the United States and Latin America, beyond the ones we currently serve."

Qualcomm made the Brew platform free to operators and developers in January as part of a significant commitment to the system it calls the "grandfather of the app store". Previously tied to CDMA, it has been gradually opened up over the past few years, targeting HSPA operators with new functionality such as the Plaza widgets platform and associated white label store offering, Plaza Retail.

The firm said its 3Pre Brew developer program, also announced in January, now has more than 25 partner firms, including Japan's Access, Funambol and UIEvolution.

Copyright © 2010, Wireless Watch

Wireless Watch is published by Rethink Research, a London-based IT publishing and consulting firm. This weekly newsletter delivers in-depth analysis and market research of mobile and wireless for business. Subscription details are here.

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