Qualcomm Sings Opera for M-Commerce

Wireless giant Qualcomm wants to get personal
with mobile shoppers.

The San Diego-based firm has sought the help of alternative Web
browser maker Opera Software to offer contextual shopping on
BREW-enabled handsets. Financial terms of the deal were
not announced.

For example, if a BREW-enabled phone searches for an update on the
latest basketball scores, Opera’s Mobile Web Browser could offer the user
a clickable link to a retailer selling a basketball video game or other
basketball related mobile applications. Qualcomm has a content contract
with other Web browser vendors like Microsoft, but
not one that uses recommended shopping links.

Contextual paid listings are the bread and butter for the search
industry. Applications like Google’s AdSense and
Sprinks.com use enhanced targeting capabilities and powerful new
bidding and analysis tools to raise the value of search as a promotional
channel. Opera, whose free browser offers up advertisements on the
desktop, is looking to bring the lucrative contextual advertising market
to the handset.

“This functionality enables new features that support a wide range of
premium BREW-based applications and content that will be presented to
end users based upon their real-time usage, allowing a more personalized
wireless experience for BREW subscribers,” Gina Lombardi, senior vice
president of marketing at Qualcomm, said in a statement.

Qualcomm and Oslo, Norway-based Opera said contextual shopping features can be added for pennies on the dollar by operators supporting BREW, because the technology uses the
operator’s existing network infrastructure and components. The
technology will be marketed to handset manufacturers like Sony Ericsson,
Nokia, Siemens and Sendo X, as well as CDMA operators like
KDDI in Japan, KTF in South Korea and Verizon Wireless in the United
States.

Additionally, the BREW Distribution System (BDS) lets operators
install the platform in their back-end billing systems and application
management environments. Qualcomm said the cost savings are enough to
spur flexible billing and competitive pricing options.

Qualcomm and Opera said the technology should start appearing in
handsets and on mobile plans starting next year.

“We’ve had a great experience delivering the Opera browser for the
BREW platform with KDDI in Japan,” Opera CEO Jon von
Tetzchner said in a statement. “We expect that the Opera browser will
not only provide new opportunities for BREW operators, users and content
providers, but it will further promote the adoption of mobile Web
capabilities and the importance of mobile Web browsing technology.”

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