J2ME vs. BREW Cell Phone Technology

Posted on 2003-02-24
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-12-27
  I don't know if this is the right place for this question, but seeing as WAP includes phones, I figured it was.
   Anyways, I wanted to know if anyone out there can tell me what the real difference between BREW (Qualcomm's tech) and J2ME is, in terms of cost and of development time. I've been doing some research into both of them, and it seems like BREW is the way to go. Also, does anyone out there know when BREW 3.0 is coming out (as it seems to have the free GCC Arm Compiler in it)? Thanks for the help in advance.
Question by:spartan789
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Expert Comment

ID: 8012224
I am in similar situation.  I understand BREW is C++ and therefore may be a little more difficult in terms of development, unless you are C++ guru.  Also, there are far more tools available for J2ME, many with device specific emulators and tools.  BREW is seriously lacking in this department.  Regarding cost, I am somewhat confused on the issues.  I understand BREW apps are distributed via the BREW Distribution System providing application provisioning, billing and payment processing.  However, to actually get your app qualified for that process, there are significant steps that must be taken.  Qualcomm has a rather condensed version here.
J2ME on the other hand is fairly simple to develop, but rather difficult to distribute and more importantly - generate revenue (custom billing and payment processing).
Adding to my dilema is the fact that my local area is covered almost exclusively by CDMA carriers - leaving only BREW handsets.  This is very disturbing to a someone with Java tendencies.
Hope this helps.

Expert Comment

ID: 8284709
It is interesting to note that many CDMA-based carriers who previously only supported BREW are changing their stance and also now supporting J2ME applications on their networks.  I think the Java developer community was too large to ignore, so carriers, like Verizon are also supporting J2ME as well (http://www.wirelessadwatch.com/profile/2001/verizon.shtml).

From personal experience, the cost of developing and certifying a BREW app is SIGNIFICANTLY HIGHER than with J2ME -->$1500 compiler vs. free J2ME compilers!!!!

Accepted Solution

laplante earned 200 total points
ID: 8350149
I've just gone through the calculations.  To develop for BREW, you need

$ 400 Verisign certificate
$ 700 Microsoft Visual Studio 6 (C++)
$1500 RealView™ Compilation Tools for BREW.      
$2500 True BREW Tier 3 testing

Add to that a Brew handset or travel to get access to the Qualcomm developer lab, and maybe a $1250 training session.

Wap or J2ME costs - mostly free.

Development time depends on whether you're more comfortable with raw C++ or Java, given that all familiar libraries don't fit on this tiny platform.

The choice shouldn't be based on time but on markets. BREW gives developers 80% of the revenue, vs. 50% typical for wap or J2ME if revenue is possible at all.

Total BREW-enabled handsets sold, 2 million, vs 50 million J2ME and several hundred million wap handsets.

Expert Comment

ID: 8350287
To anyone who is interested,
After further research I have come to understand that this issue is not which technology carriers 'choose' to support.  Rather, BREW is integrated into the CDMA chipset and therefore any CDMA carrier is left with no choice.  However, here are a couple links for JVM's that run atop BREW to open the development and distribution channels for J2ME developers.  I understand that these VM's run very efficiently and by their very existence may negate many of the arguments against BREW handsets (not BREW development).  Anyhow, I though they were interesting enough to share.

Cheers and happy wireless programming.  



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