BREW Arrives In Europe

When Qualcomm first announced their UIOne technology at the BREW Developers Conference in 2005, I was impressed by what it could do, and the opportunities it would open up for CDMA carriers. UIOne gives carriers the ability to easily and quickly deploy customer user interfaces for mobile phones, based either on the carriers choices, or the subscribers. It allows richer idle screens, and brings relevant content and services forward, for each distinct market segment. However, when UIOne was touted as a method that Qualcomm could use to penetrate ‘fortress Europe’, I was skeptical. Europe has traditionally been a weak market for Qualcomm, since they didn’t use the CDMA technology that makes Qualcomm a giant, but also because there is reluctance to do business with i) another large US company, and ii) one that has a reputation for high licensing costs. I penned my doubt about UIOne’s ability to penetrate Europe in June 2005. Well, I was dead wrong. When I went to the BREW DevCon this year, Telecom Italia was a keynote speaker, and they discussed their selection of BREW, done mostly for access to UIOne. Today comes the news that the first BREW phones have arrived in Europe, sold by O2 in the UK. O2 retains their Java-based content systems, and is exclusively focused on the UIOne aspect of BREW, but talk about a foot in the door! Whatever the reluctance to do business with Qualcomm, the merits of the technology seem to have overpowered the reticence. As a developer, for all the promise of Java, I know it simply doesn’t measure up to BREW in terms of the functionality of the apps we can build. Score another success for Qualcomm.

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