Brew Should Be Taken Seriously- No, Really.
By Eric Lin, Mon Dec 15 22:00:00 GMT 2003

When Qualcomm launched the Brew platform, it was received by groans and doomsday predictions. This year Brew has gained momentum, and although no one is predicting it will overtake Java, analysts are now giving the mobile platform some respect- and a chance.

It's tough to avoid coffee puns when writing an article on Brew and Java, for that alone Wireless Watch in The Register deserves to be commended. But Wireless Watch also presents a good argument why Brew should be- and is- taken seriously while balancing out the article with a healthy dose of Java information.

The number of carriers supporting Brew on their networks has doubled in the past year to 18. That's still only one quarter or less than the number of carriers who support Java and still short of Qualcomm's goals. However Qualcomm scored some big names this year like Japan's KDDI, and China Unicom.

Brew has always held certain advantages for carriers: Qualcomm takes care of practically everything, carriers can just rebrand Qualcomm's library instead of developing their own portal, and it's nearly impossible for users to get applications or customizations onto the phone without paying for them. Where Qualcomm has fallen short was with Brew's capabilities. The latest release of the platform adds many critical components to it, simplifies coding, and adds compatibility for Java. Qualcomm has finally given in and admitted that Java is a standard for mobile development, and they don't want to lose out by trying to fight it any longer.

Whether Qualcomm will be able to harness the new improvements and make a success of Brew in critical mobile markets like Europe remains to be seen. But at least they have a chance now. It may never surpass Java, but at least there is a chance it could become an important player in the mobile content market.