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Brew Vs Android : Qualcomm's Tough Dilemna

Qualcomm is the Intel of the ARM-ecosystem, a technology giant with a market capitalisation of just under $90 billion, more than chip rivals Texas Instruments, Broadcom and Nvidia put together.

The US-based company is set to face a dilemna over the next 12 months as Google's mobile platform, Android, permeates to the lower levels of the market and start to compete with Qualcomm's own proprietary but quietly successful platform, BrewMP.

Unbeknown to many, the BREW platform, which stands for Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless, has been around for more than a decade, is present on more than 1400 handsets, 250 million addressable BREW devices, generated more than $3 billion in developer earnings and pulls in 50 million transactions per month.

Which is not bad for a platform that is deliberately low key and low end. Speaking to Rob Chandhok, the company's president in charge of Internet Services, yesterday during Qualcomm's Innovation Event, it was evident however that Qualcomm would prefer Android rather than Brew.

After all, Android has been a roaring success for Qualcomm; the first Android phone - the HTC Dream - featured a Qualcomm MSM7201A SoC and until now, tens of millions of Android-based smartphones from HTC, Sony Ericsson, Samsung Electronics, Huawei, ZTE, LG and Motorola have been sold.

We've noted that Brew hasn't been mentioned once during the presentation and with Qualcomm's CEO, Paul Jacobs, espousing plans for a $50 smartphone, it is likely that the tech company will go with the flow and push Android rather than its own brood if that brings in more revenues.

Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.