Red Bend Software Inc has replaced Bitfone Corp as the provider of client software for firmware-over-the-air delivery to mobile phones from Motorola Inc, in what looks like fallout from Bitfone’s December acquisition by Hewlett-Packard Co.
The Waltham, Massachusetts-based developer of FOTA technology has unveiled a global contract to provide Motorola with its vCurrent Mobile client for bundling onto select Motorola mobile devices – including a number of handsets based on Motorola’s Linux-Java software platform in order for firmware updates to be sent to them by the manufacturer itself and by its mobile operator customers.
Morten Grauballe, executive VP of marketing for Red Bend, said the deal reflected the completeness of the Open Mobile Alliance Device Management [OMA DM] standard, in that we now have signed deals with six of the top seven handset manufacturers.
In other words, in addition to Motorola, Red Bend’s FOTA client is also in use by Nokia, Sony Ericsson, LG and BenQ, as well as smaller players such as Sharp and NEC, with only Samsung among the tier-1 players preferring to plough its own furrow right now.
Red Bend took the decision almost two years ago to drop out of the FOTA server market, preferring instead to work with any server that supported the OMA DM standard. As such it can talk to servers from companies like mFormation and Synchronica, as well as the Bitfone server, back in an operator’s or handset manufacturer’s network.
With mFormation and Synchronica focusing on FOTA server development and Bitfone now absorbed into HP, said Grauballe, only InnoPath Software Inc remains as an independent developer of both server and client technology.
They’ve traditionally done well in Japan, but we’ve been winning contracts there too, with 12 Sharp phones already in that market with our clients and, as of next week, the second NEC phone with us, said Grauballe.
To date, all Red Bend’s deals with handset manufacturers involve vCurrent Mobile, the full FOTA client, which requires a reboot of the phone in order for any update to be activated.
The ISV’s push now, however, is to get manufacturers and carriers to use its vRapid Mobile client, which enables modular FOTA, i.e. updates coming into force without a reboot, which also enables unique configurations for individual uses, which is something standard FOTA can’t do. Grauballe said the company is currently running four trials, two with operators and two with handset manufacturers, on vRapid Mobile.