Qualcomm reveals applications for wireless

Qualcomm is brewing new wireless tools including 3D graphics and mobile chatrooms

3D animation and maps that can zoom in and out at a viewer's discretion are just some of the software applications fermenting within the developer community working on Qualcomm's latest effort, executives said Wednesday.

Other software tools being developed for BREW (Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless), Qualcomm's proposed operating system for the next generation of cell phones, include electronic book readers and streaming video viewers for cell phones, stockholders were told during Qualcomm's annual meeting.

Qualcomm wasn't just showing off for investors. The message was meant for the software development crowd, the subject of a tug-of-war between the likes of Microsoft, Intel and Sun Microsystems -- all of which are backing differing proposed operating systems for the next generation of cell phones.

Paul E. Jacobs, the Qualcomm executive shepherding the software effort to developers, also gave a public demonstration of an e-mail reader that works without having to log on to any kind of network.

The better the applications that are already created, the more developers will want to work with the software to either enhance them or work on others, analysts say. Qualcomm may have entered the game a little late, according to analysts. Some say Sun has an advantage at this point, based on the progress it has made with a morphed version of Java. "I think it's safe to say that with 2.5 million existing Java developers, (the Sun/Java effort) is facing a bright future," said Bryan Morgan, managing editor of the Wireless Developer Network.

But that didn't stop Qualcomm's Jacobs from revealing a few of the juicier titbits coming out of the development process. He said he's "already seen" applications like 3D animation that work on BREW. 3D graphics for cell phones isn't new. Companies like Picofun, a European-based cell phone game maker, has a golf game that uses shading to produce a 3D effect.

Other applications include enhanced instant messaging capabilities and mobile chat rooms, all done without having to rely on a browser, Jacobs said. Most of the existing applications along these lines involve a browser, which slows down the process.

Jacobs also said BREW developers have either created, or are on the verge of creating, a way to turn a cell phone into an electronic book reader that has the capability to either send text to the phone's screen or even "have the phone read it to you."

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