Qualcomm adds some Flash to BREW

Qualcomm and Adobe Systems announced they will integrate Adobe Flash technology into the BREW Client software in an attempt to bridge the gap separating the mobile application and web content development communities, promising developers a more robust environment to create Flash-based apps and services for mobile devices.

According to Qualcomm, the new BREW Mobile Platform will extend the BREW Client services and API with expanded platform capabilities, multimedia and content support, access to device databases, connectivity support and touchscreen user interface development. The platform, open to developers, operators and handset manufacturers alike, promises to improve efficiency across the developmental process, including tooling, content distribution and consumption. "There should be seamless integration for developers," said Qualcomm senior vice president of engineering Steve Sprigg at last week's BREW 2008 event in San Diego, adding the platform is in large part a response to feedback from the developer community.

Anup Murarka, director of technical marketing for Adobe's mobile and devices business unit, said a central goal of the BREW Mobile Platform is expanding the development community by facilitating publication of Flash-based applications. "We want to broaden opportunities across the entire ecosystem," he said. To that end, both Qualcomm and Adobe will provide tools for BREW Mobile Platform--for native application developers, Qualcomm will provide integrated support for the Eclipse and Visual Studio Integrated Development Environments, while Flash designers and developers can use existing Adobe development tools like Adobe Flash CS3 Professional and Adobe Device Central CS3.

The BREW Mobile Platform extends Qualcomm's longstanding partnership with Adobe--most recently, Qualcomm signed on to join Adobe's Open Screen Project, which brings together players throughout the mobile value chain to develop solutions for delivering rich web and video devices across the fragmented device landscape. The Open Screen Project promises to make the Adobe Flash Player and Adobe AIR runtime consistent across mobile devices, desktop computers and set-top boxes, complementing BREW Mobile Platform by bolstering developers and content companies' efforts to simplify and streamline the user experience.

"[Qualcomm and Adobe] have a number of common customers and a shared vision," Sprigg said. "We want to incorporate the kinds of advanced features we've previously seen in smartphones into mass-market devices."

Also noteworthy: The BREW Mobile Platform is fully backward-compatible with applications developed for previous editions of the BREW Client, enabling customers to exploit the new capabilities while still supporting existing BREW applications.

Qualcomm said it will release chipsets featuring the BREW Mobile Platform this fall, with plans to debut a common runtime environment by mid-2009. "We see this [partnership with Adobe] as a continuum," Sprigg said. "We have a very good roadmap for where we're headed in the future."

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