BREW – Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless

Brew (Brew MP, Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless) is an application development platform created by Qualcomm, originally for CDMA mobile phones, featuring third party applications such as mobile games. It is offered in some feature phones but not in smart phones. It debuted in September 2001.

As a software platform that can download and run small programs for playing games, sending messages, and sharing photos, the main advantage of Brew MP is that the application developers can easily port their applications among all Brew MP devices by providing a standardized set of application programming interfaces. Software for the Brew MP enabled handsets can be developed in C or C++ using the freely downloadable Brew MP SDK.

The Brew runtime library is part of the wireless device on-chip firmware or operating system in order to allow programmers to develop applications without needing to code for system interface or understand wireless applications. Brew is described as a a pseudo operating system, but not a true mobile operating system. Brew is not a virtual machine such as Java ME, but runs native code.

For software developers, it is a complete set of APIs that enables software development and applications in C, C++ and Java and is supported (platform) by an ASIC. It has a footprint of about 15900 K. Brew MP is also known as the pseudo OS and it runs on Brew RTOS.

For testing applications during the development process, the SDK includes a Brew Emulator, or starting with Brew Version 3.1.5 and above, the Brew Simulator. The Brew environment provides for multiple levels of application signatures. One signature authenticates the developer. Another signature verifies that an application has passed TRUE Brew testing and is bestowed through Intertek. The individual telecommunications operators configure the handsets to either enforce or ignore the presence and verification of this second signature. Brew enabled handsets have a test mode that allows applications to bypass verification of the signature. Qualcomm makes applications that have passed testing available to Brew enabled wireless network operators. The operators are then able to choose which of these applications to make available to end-users on their catalog.

The Brew Emulator (currently called Brew Simulator) does not emulate handset’s hardware. Instead, the Brew application is compiled to native code and linked with a compatible Brew runtime library. Because of this, applications cannot be tested for platform bugs related to memory alignment and various firmware related glitches without a Brew handset operating in test mode.

For testing purpose, Brew applications can be transferred using a USB or serial cable to any Brew-compatible handset using Brew AppLoader from Qualcomm. A Brew application contains several components which, if not present and valid, cause the application to be automatically deleted on reboot. This includes the compiled binary file, a file which describes the application, the features it uses and permissions requested, a file which contains string and image resources if required, and a file containing the application digital signature.

On May 28, 2008, Qualcomm and Adobe announced a partnership to integrate Adobe Flash Lite as a supported user interface on Brew.

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