PalmSource phones add BREW to mix

The Palm unit allies with Qualcomm to use the chipmaker's BREW download software to deliver games and other applications to cell phones.

NEW ORLEANS--Qualcomm and PalmSource are allying to deliver games, ring tones and programs designed for Palm handheld devices over a cell phone.

The companies announced the joint effort Tuesday here at the CTIA Wireless 2003 spring convention. Under the partnership, Qualcomm is developing technology to let handsets based on the Palm operating system use its Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless (BREW) software for downloads.

The effort would ultimately allow carriers such as Verizon Wireless to sell about 27,000 commercially released software programs meant for Palm devices, Qualcomm President Paul E. Jacobs said here Tuesday.

"This will give (people) access to the world's largest library of Palm OS applications," said David Nagel, president and chief executive officer of PalmSource, the software arm of handheld maker Palm.

BREW Shop, as Qualcomm is calling the technology, will be first implemented by U.S. carrier Alltel sometime in the next few months. The carrier will sell a Kyocera 7135 smart phone with the necessary software inside.

The San Diego-based chipmaker's BREW download software is in a pitched battle with Sun Microsystems's Java to dominate the market for cell phone download software. While Java is the overwhelming choice among carriers and developers, BREW has made some recent gains. There are at least 20 wireless carriers using Java to sell downloadable software.

Wireless service providers have turned to sales of downloaded games, ring tones and other programs as a new source of revenue.

U.S. companies already using BREW to deliver downloads include Verizon Wireless--the country's largest wireless carrier--and Alltel. In Asia, KTF in South Korea, KDDI in Japan and China Unicom use BREW-powered downloads. In addition, U.S. Cellular is currently trialing the Qualcomm software.

Qualcomm and Sunnyvale, Calif.-based PalmSource did not provide a date when they expect to finish the joint development effort.