Lukewarm Feelings Towards Both Java And BREW
By Mike Masnick, Wed Aug 04 00:30:00 GMT 2004

Qualcomm and Sun like to play down the whole "battle" over which technology mobile application developers want to use: BREW or Java? The honest answer may be neither.

Qualcomm and Sun like to claim that the question of Java vs. BREW is really not a question at all, since both can be used, if necessary. However, it does matter to developers, and as Moco News points out, the latest report from Zelos Group suggests neither is a great solution at this point.

The complaint with Java is basically that it's not BREW. The early iterations, as just a client technology, weren't enough. On top of that, the slow consensus development method of the Java Community Process has really slowed down advancements with the technology. People at Sun respond that they would never get everyone to use the technology if it didn't have buy in from many of the stakeholders. While there's something to be said for standards that meet everyone's needs, there needs to be a balance with the overall process. Developments that tend to get bogged down as they try to be everything to everyone tend to be not enough for anyone.

What's wrong with BREW, then? Well, no one's really sure what Qualcomm is going to do with it. In fact, it's not even clear that Qualcomm knows what it's going to do with BREW. It could make an effort to push the interface kit, turning BREW into more of an operating system -- which scares off many of the carriers. Or BREW could be going nowhere at all, which scares off developers. It does have a strong position in the US, thanks to support from Verizon Wireless, but as BREW is losing its Korean support, it's making many people wonder where Qualcomm is planning to go with BREW.

The end result, of course, is that no one knows what to do in terms of development. So they do nothing, or they do something weak as a hedge for the time being. Of course, without the innovative applications, there appears to be less of a reason to get these things in order. There's definitely demand for innovative mobile phone applications and services, but without the proper tools or roadmap it's difficult to convince the developers to do any innovating.