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BREW 2.0: Works Great, Less Filling

Wireless giant QUALCOMM Tuesday revised its popular Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless (BREW) client software.

Dubbed BREW 2.0, the San Diego-based company said its new client software and accompanying free BREW Software Development Kit (SDK) add increased security features, better multimedia and graphics capabilities as well as more extensive location-based information, HTML-based capabilities, and short message service (SMS).

The software also includes a BREW applications platform and porting tools for device manufacturers, and the BREW Distribution System (BDS) that is controlled and managed by carriers for billing and payments.

The first version of the BREW 2.0 porting kit for device manufacturers is available now. QUALCOMM said handsets with its new client software are expected to hit the market by early next year.

"QUALCOMM is working to continually expand the capabilities of the BREW platform -- offering mobile customers Internet features they have come to rely on in the PC-centric world, as well as the unparalleled features available only on mobile devices," said QUALCOMM Internet Services senior vice president of marketing and product management Gina Lombardi.

On the security front, QUALCOMM says BREW 2.0 is perfect as an m-commerce platform. The improvements include SSL and HTTPS support to allow safer transactions for customers who want to use wireless to shop, bank or trade stocks.

BREW 2.0 includes better wireless Internet capabilities with new HTML, XHTML and cHTML browser components. In addition to the increasingly popular SMS being developed for phones and PDAs, the new BREW also expands the gpsOne support available in earlier platform releases.

New features in the graphics realm include support for JPEG, CMX , double buffering and sprites. In addition, QUALCOMM said developers can add viewers as extensions to support new media types such as MPG-4. BREW 2.0 also has a new audio record feature that could let customers record voice attachments for e-mails or to create even more ringtones.

Beyond increasing application development capabilities, the company said BREW 2.0 is great for manufacturers in that it can sit comfortably on a variety of devices - especially memory-constrained devices such as wireless modem cards and low-priced, entry-level handsets.

And if the manufacturers are really pressed for memory space, QUALCOMM said they could remove advanced BREW components and select only the essential ones using a table-driven compiling option.