Verizon Wireless BREWing Up Apps For 2G

Verizon Wireless official announced Thursday its deal with
digital wireless phone maker QUALCOMM to use the BREW
development platform to give its users access to a variety of games,
entertainment and applications.

BREW, an acronym for binary runtime environment for wireless, is a
programming language based on C/C++ technology that lets developers run
“thin” applications on wireless digital phones or other devices. The
platform can also be used for future developer applications in Java and
extensible markup language (XML).

With BREW-enabled phones, Verizon Wireless customers will be able to
download games, entertainment and applications over their phone for
immediate use.

“We are pleased to be working with QUALCOMM to bring BREW-enabled
applications to our customers. Working now with developers as they design
fun games and entertainment applications, as well as information and
productivity tools, means consumers will experience some very cool
applications on their BREW-enabled devices,” said John Stratton, Verizon
Wireless chief marketing officer.

Whether the announcement really benefits Verizon Wireless users down the
road remains to be seen, however.

By opening up its IS-95 (2G) platform to more thin applications, Verizon
Wireless officials are clearly signaling their desire to keep the more than
29.4 million customers they have happy.

The company’s much-hyped
and much-lambasted 3G rollout
in January, dubbed “Express Network”
running on the 1XRTT platform, is considered to be the next generation in
wireless communications and there were unfounded worries Verizon officials
would scale back their involvement with 2G customers.

But the success of Verizon’s commitment to BREW depends largely on the
programmers and developers who make the applications in the first
place. So far, details are sketchy over any details of the Thursday
arrangement.

Jeffrey Nelson, a Verizon Wireless spokesperson, said the company would
start a market-by-market test launch of select BREW applications on digital
wireless phones in the coming months. He wouldn’t comment on dates or
cities in the launch.

“Right now we’re just trying to build momentum for BREW,” he said. “We
will need developers to make the applications first and we will focus on
games and entertainment more than applications.”

Nelson wouldn’t comment on what games or applications might be under
development right now, though he said more details would be forthcoming in
the next month.

The drawback to the BREW announcement is current Verizon Wireless customers
won’t be able to use the phones they’re using now for these new games and
applications, they’ll need to buy a new phone which will be available when
the service is launched in the Spring.

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