Telesp is just the latest of many carriers to embark on mobile data services trials. Qualcomm’s BREW and Sun’s J2ME technologies are the leading technology providers for these trials. If either Qualcomm or Sun is to gain an advantage in this competitive market, it will need to emphasize the practical applications of its technology to mobile operators.
Brazilian wireless operator Telesp plans to trial Qualcomm’s BREW mobile data technology.
Brazil’s largest mobile phone operator, Telesp Celular, has announced plans to start a trial of wireless data applications for handsets enabled by Qualcomm’s BREW technology.
Telesp joins a growing group of carriers investing in wireless data solutions trials. Some are using BREW, including Japan’s KDDI and the US’ Verizon Wireless. However, carriers such as Bell Mobility (Canada), Sprint PCS (US), Nextel (US) and NTT DoCoMo (Japan), plan to use J2ME technology instead.
Device manufacturers also realize the importance of offering wireless data services: Nokia recently launched a Java broker service allowing carriers to deliver a range of J2ME applications to their customers. And Nextel has already sold more than 1.3 million Java-enabled handsets.
BREW, which stands for Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless, is a thin application execution environment for wireless devices, using applications based on the C++ language. Sun Microsystem’s J2ME, or Java 2 Platform Micro Edition, allows programmers to use the Java programming language and related tools to develop programs for mobile devices. BREW is CDMA-specific, while J2ME is a cross-platform technology that will work on CDMA, TDMA and GSM networks.
An important aspect of these technologies lies in their ability to support wireless gaming functionality: Datamonitor forecasts that by 2006, there will be almost 500 million wireless gamers worldwide. As a result of the potential revenues that these gamers might bring, more and more carriers will start to offer gaming and other applications, as competition increases for the growing wireless data market.
Both BREW and J2ME offer advanced data services capabilities for mobile devices. And both can draw on large existing developer communities for applications. To promote their technologies and gain the advantage, however, Qualcomm and Sun must highlight the practical capabilities of their respective technologies, especially in the increasing wireless gaming market.
Related research: Datamonitor, 2001: Global Wireless Gaming
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