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Nine years ago, San Diego-based Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM ) introduced Brew, a programming language that made it easier for software developers to integrate short programs with wireless devices so mobile users could also play games, send messages, share photos, and get other services.
The idea was to provide a standard programming environment to accelerate the adoption of mobile applications. By operating between an application and the wireless device's operating system, Brew enables programmers to develop applications without needing to code for the system interface or to understand wireless applications. With Brew, application developers also can easily port their games and other programs between all Qualcomm-based devices.
In 2008, Qualcomm replaced Brew (the name stands for the stilted acronym "Binary runtime environment wireless") with Brew MP (as in Mobile Platform), which was developed as a flexible and scalable mobile operating system. Qualcomm designed Brew MP to support handsets and mobile devices across all market tiers, including 3G devices and smart phones.
Today Qualcomm boasts that Brew operates in 25 countries and generates more than $3 billion in revenue for Brew applications developers. The company says there are now more than 250 million addressable Brew devices and more than 1,400 Brew-enabled handsets. Yet Brew is not necessarily a favorite among mobile developers, since the top six platforms for applications developers are Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL ) iOS, Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG ) Android, Research In Motion's (Nasdaq: RIMM ) BlackBerry, Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT ) Windows Phone 7, Palm's Palm/WebOS (soon to be owned by Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ ) ), and Nokia's (NYSE: NOK ) Symbian systems.
So it makes sense for the wireless technology giant to reenergize its community of mobile developers by convening Uplinq 2010, a conference that brings Brew developers, operators, device makers, publishers, and others together for two days at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in downtown San Diego.
"Qualcomm is committed to advancing the reach of Brew MP, and subsequently delivering richer applications and better experiences to consumers using a range of devices across the world's largest markets," Qualcomm's Mitch Oliver says in a statement released before the conference. "By fostering increased collaboration within the Brew MP ecosystem, we envision many more devices and applications benefitting consumers who desire a more compelling and personal mobile experience all around the world."
The conference, which begins at 8:30 a.m. today, includes keynote talks by Paul Jacobs, Qualcomm's chairman and CEO; David Christopher, chief marketing officer for AT&T Mobility & Consumer Markets; and John Stratton, a Verizon executive vice president and chief marketing officer.
I'm looking forward to learning more about all of this. Among the items on the agenda later today is a session billed as an overview of Brew MP, "the operating system for the mass-market smartphone."
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