Qualcomm, which develops mobile phone technology, last month unveiled BREW (Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless) as a standard for developing software for cell phones. The technology promises to let developers write a single version of any software application that can then run on cell phones using Qualcomm's CDMA (code division multiple access) technology.
Ultimately, Qualcomm envisions consumers downloading and installing BREW-based software onto their mobile phones, much as they do with PCs and handheld computers. Qualcomm would generate revenue from wireless carriers that license BREW.
In the announcement Wednesday, MP3.com said its applications will enable the delivery of digital music to wireless devices. Several other developers have also announced plans to create applications based on BREW, including AvantGo, NetZero, Visto and Pixo.
"It's definitely an endorsement for Qualcomm's BREW technology coming from probably the key player in the MP3 space," said Terry Nozick, an analyst with Mobile Insights. "I expect that we'll be seeing many more of these announcements in the next several months."
Although analysts have applauded Qualcomm's BREW technology, the company faces potential competition from Sun Microsystems, which is pushing for cellular phones to use Java-based software. Both companies face the possibility that consumers aren't ready to pack their cell phones with software and use them like PCs and handheld devices.
"We're not fully sold that listening to music over your cell phone is a viable channel," said PJ McNealy, an analyst with Gartner. "It's not a need."