RealTime IT News

QUALCOMM Unveils BREW-based Apps, Security Solution

QUALCOMM Inc. Tuesday boasted that it has discovered the long-sought 'killer app' for wireless: it's Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless (BREW) applications platform.

"The wireless industry has long searched for the 'killer app,'" said Peggy Johnson, senior vice president of QUALCOMM and general manager of QUALCOMM Internet Services. "We believe that having the freedom to choose from a wide variety of applications is the killer app. The BREW platform enables developers and carriers to create and provide exciting new applications to bring us another step closer to a genuinely useful wireless Internet."

To be clear, BREW is a thin applications development platform, not an application itself. And while many have sought for a wireless killer application, no one has yet declared victory. Indeed, the wireless Internet has not yet created the demand that many proponents were looking for, and mobile e-commerce, or m-commerce, has so far been received apathetically by consumers, according to an April study by Cahners In-Stat Group.

Just Monday, e-commerce giant Amazon reportedly scaled back its Amazon Anywhere initiative because fewer consumers than expected have utilized the mobile e-commerce (m-commerce) solution.

Wireless advertising, too, is having trouble gaining acceptance. And, according to a study released Friday by The Shosteck Group, location-based services still have a number of issues to iron out before they're ready for prime time.

Still, that doesn't mean the wireless industry won't find those killer apps. The Gartner Group released two studies Monday that predict significant growth in the sector. One predicts that 75 percent of the people in the U.S. and Western Europe will carry wireless computing devices by 2010. The other predicts 800 million worldwide wireless data users by 2004.

With that in mind, QUALCOMM is looking to make BREW the standard for wireless applications. BREW provides developers with an open platform with which they may create and deploy applications. The company said it will demonstrate the platform at the Brew 2001: Developer and 3G Technology Conference in San Diego, which begins Tuesday and runs through May 10.

A number of BREW Platinum Sponsors will begin demonstrating their new applications Wednesday. They include:

  • The Brodia Group -- Brodia's Identity Management System enables authenticated transactions through wireless devices. The system allows consumers to securely access and authorize transfer of their personal and payment information using applications like Brodia's Digital Wallet, Micropayments and Cardholder Authentication services.
  • Eyematic -- Eyematic's eyePublish animation software will animate 3D characters to provide personalization services. Live customer service representatives will be able to interact with customers online and send branded 3D personalities to customers via e-mail and wireless devices.
  • MP3.com -- MP3.com will introduce an application for wireless delivery of music, allowing consumers to turn their handsets into MP3 players.
  • NetZero -- NetZero will unveil its HardCell advertising system, designed to enable marketers to send highly targeted advertisements via mobile applications.
  • Visto -- Visto will show of its mLynx solutions, which allow enterprise IT professionals to deploy remote access to corporate messaging applications like Microsoft Exchange.
  • Wireless Knowledge -- Wireless Knowledge will introduce its enterprise-grade software and services including Workstyle, Anystyle and Echo, which give corporate professionals mobile access to their critical information.

To secure the BREW platform and prevent it from becoming an injection point for viruses, as has happened to wired e-mail, QUALCOMM Tuesday forged an agreement with VeriSign, which will integrate its enhanced code-signing service with the platform.

VeriSign's service will trace applications to their developers and check their integrity and authorization before each launch. The solution incorporates digital signatures and authorization counter-signatures with real-time revocation checking.

"QUALCOMM's work with VeriSign will ensure that carriers and their subscribers receive BREW applications only from authenticated sources, therefore protecting the handsets and carrier networks," said Gina Lombardi, vice president of marketing and product management for QUALCOMM Internet Services. "By digitally signing every BREW application, we are taking wireless security to a level unprecedented even in the wired world."