Opinion: Why the significance of the Brew Mobile Platform is more than the Brew Mobile Platform

Opinion: Why the significance of the Brew Mobile Platform is more than the Brew Mobile Platform

By their very definition, Software Development Kits (SDKs) are geeky, complicated things that most consumers won't know anything about. So for them, Qualcomm's announcement that it's released its Brew Mobile Platform SDK isn't particularly interesting. It's something new for programmers to play around with. Big deal.

Where the Brew Mobile Platform starts to get universally interesting, however, is the way it demonstrates how some of the barriers of mobile devices are being broken down. For example, Qualcomm's expertise (and patents) in CDMA technologies has made it plenty of money in the US and Asia, but Europe uses the rival GSM standard, so Qualcomm's effectively been locked out of that market. (And vice versa for companies such as Nokia.)

Brew Mobile Platform is part of a wider industry move in overcoming such obstacles – or 'bridging the gap between the mobile application and Web development communities' as the marketing people put it.

Lead by Adobe, the Open Screen Project (of which Brew MP is the first major third-party release), is an initiative to 'enable consumers to engage with rich internet experiences seamlessly across any device, anywhere.' It's based around Adobe's Flash and AIR runtime technologies, which the companies involved hope will bring together content for mobile phones, laptops, desktops, TVs and other consumer electronics within a more consistent global user experience.

Other companies partnered up to the project include the likes of Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Intel, LG, Motorola and Samsung. Content providers such as the BBC, MTV Networks, and NBC Universal are also involved.

Of course, for this to happen, these companies – which in many areas are rivals – will have to cooperate. For example, Adobe is committed to making next major releases of Adobe Flash Player and Adobe AIR for devices free.

So to bring it back to Qualcomm, the release of Brew MP SDK is partly significant in terms that developers can use standard Adobe production tools to create content for all devices that support the Brew Mobile Platform. But assuming the other companies in the Project will, in time, also open up their development tools in a similar way, it would mark the first step in something that could shake up mobile entertainment.

"The release of the Brew MP SDK is an important milestone in achieving the vision of the Open Screen Project," commented Gary Kovacs, general manager and vice president, Mobile and Devices at Adobe. "It helps put us on a solid path to deliver our shared long term vision to deliver consistent, rich experiences across all screens."

The Brew Mobile Platform SDK is available now for developers at Qualcomm's Brew MP developer website.

Contributing Editor

A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon is Contributing Editor at PG.biz which means he acts like a slightly confused uncle who's forgotten where he's left his glasses. As well as letters and cameras, he likes imaginary numbers and legumes.


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