Las Vegas - Qualcomm's Brew MP cellphone operating system, designed to bring smartphone functionality to low-priced phones, gained traction Thursday when AT&T announced that it will adopt the OS for all of its quick-messaging phones.
Phone maker HTC also announced that its first Brew MP phone, the full-touchscreen Smart, will ship in the spring in Europe and Asia.
Brew MP will "make feature phones more capable at affordable price points," said Qualcomm senior VP Cristiano Amon during a press conference. The OS enables downloadable apps that are more robust than those currently available for phones that lack smartphone OSs, and it can run on lower end chipsets with lower speed and lower memory capacity while supporting Java and Adobe Flash, he said.
AT&T plans to include Brew MP in all of its quick-messaging phones by 2011, rolling out the first ones beginning in the middle of this summer, said AT&T marketing VP Carlton Hill. About 30 percent of the carrier's subscriber base currently uses a quick-messaging phone, defined as offering a physical or virtual QWERTY keyboard to facilitate messaging, she said.
AT&T will offer a software developers kit to promote third-party app development, she noted.
HTC is jumping on the Brew MP bandwagon to "bring smartphones to the masses in a simpler and more affordable way," said HTC CEO Peter Chou. He called the feature-phone experience "horrible" and "complicated."
On a separate topic, Qualcomm said its 1GHz Snapdragon processor with 3G cellular, GPS and multimedia capabilities has been incorporated in HTC's Windows Mobile-based HD2 smartphone, due in the spring through T-Mobile; in Google's Nexus One Android-based smartphone, launched early this week; and in Lenovo's smartbook, which AT&T will make available in the spring with a subsidy to reduce the price somewhere below Lenovo's unsubsidized suggested retail of $499.