Now wireless operators have another option for an application store provider: Qualcomm. The company is expanding its Plaza suite to include Plaza Retail, backed by its experience with BREW.
Besides BREW, the endeavor will include support for Java, Flash and BlackBerry, with support for Android coming later this year. Windows Mobile, Palm, Symbian and LiMo support will follow as demand dictates.
The goal of Plaza Retail is to allow application retailers, typically mobile operators, to present subscribers with a uniform and easy shopping experience on any capable device, the company says. It also will give publishers and developers the ability to make their content available to multiple retailers regardless of their development platform.
It’s a white-label solution, and Qualcomm’s acquisition of Xiam Technologies of Dublin last year means the company also can offer personalization and recommendation technology, according to Brian Vogelsang, director of product management. The Xiam technology uses information about a subscriber’s behavior, past purchases and other information to build a profile for offering the most relevant and appropriate content.
The system is built on the foundation Qualcomm established through BREW, which includes a developer community that the company continues to support. A lot of developers that do BREW also use Java, and they’re interested in expanding to other platforms.
The idea is to offer a one-click capability on the handset, where the consumer ideally would see the storefront on the idle screen, explains Arvin Chander, general manager of Plaza Retail. The phone doesn’t require a browser; the storefront can come preloaded on a phone, be distributed through over-the-air (OTA) application delivery or through WAP.
The plan is for the solution to work with a range of handsets, from low-end feature phones to the higher-end devices.
The decision to cancel this year’s annual BREW conference was not related to Qualcomm’s widening support for other products, executives said. BREW continues to represent a healthy market, and 2 billion paid transactions have occurred under the platform, they said. The main reason for canceling this year’s event was the economy.
Plaza Retail consists of three elements: Management Center for managing pricing, licensing, packaging, promotions, personalization and more; Connection, an open marketplace for bringing together retailers, device makers and publishers; and Storefront, a multi-platform client, Web or mobile Web storefront.
In March, Handango announced its App Store Accelerator, a smartphone application store service for carriers, device manufacturers, e-tailers and retailers. Around the CTIA show in April, other companies, such as Amdocs and Comverse also announced app store initiatives.
Filed Under: Infrastructure