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Mobile

Qualcomm serves up BREW strategies

The company plans to tout its cell phone download software next week, announcing a deeper commitment from handset maker Kyocera Wireless.

Qualcomm plans to tout its BREW cell phone download software next week, announcing a deeper commitment from handset maker Kyocera Wireless.

About 1,500 wireless executives are expected to gather in San Diego starting Monday for the fourth BREW developer conference.

BREW, or binary runtime environment for wireless, is typically used to funnel downloadable ring tones, games and video mail programs to consumers. Such features are an increasingly important part of every cell phone service provider's business plans, mainly because competition is beating down the price of voice calling, the carriers' primary way of making money.

Kyocera is among a number of handset makers planning to introduce new BREW-specific phones. A company representative said Kyocera will be prepackaging BREW games on many of its lower-cost handsets, the same ones U.S. service providers usually give away to entice people into signing multiyear contracts.

BREW is one of several software options available to service providers. The most popular is Java 2 Micro Edition, which, according to creator Sun Microsystems, competes with BREW. Gina Lombardi, Qualcomm senior vice president of marketing and product management, criticized Sun's competitive stance.

"It's not an apples-to-apples comparison," she said Friday. "Java is a...programming language. With BREW, you get the whole ecosystem."

Among the largest of the 27 carriers to use BREW is Verizon Wireless, which at the show will introduce its 520th downloadable application. The company also plans to present updated information about the number of BREW downloads, an amount a company representative called "very encouraging."

Other carriers in attendance will be Japan's KDDI and KTF in Korea.