Openwave enhances handset technology


Openwave, pioneer of mobile internet browsing technology, has announced a new version of its XHTML browser and a Java downloads manager. Openwave 6.1 is designed for colour screen handsets and has a number of features intended to enhance the user’s mobile internet experience.

It supports animated graphics, auto-filling of forms, saving of graphics for use as wallpaper, wallet-based secure shopping and saving snapshots of mobile internet pages for browsing offline. Openwave claims it will ship on 35 handsets from 20 different vendors. Its first customer outside Japan is LG InfoComm, which will use the browser on its colour handset for Sprint’s 3G Vision service.

“LG has chosen to utilise Openwave Mobile Browser for several of its handsets. The adaptation of Openwave Mobile Browser 6.1 is extremely beneficial because it is feature rich, field-proven and meets Sprint’s requirements while delivering an improved browsing experience to Sprint’s subscribers,” said Curtis Wick, director of product testing and technical support at LG InfoComm USA. “Working closely with the Openwave team early on and leveraging the company’s expertise helped us to deliver the best possible product to our market.”

Openwave Java Applications Manager (JAM) is a MIDP 1.0-compliant system for secure, rights-based download of mobile Java applets. It can be used by operators to deliver a catalogue of available Java applications to the handset, which users can then choose to purchase and download.

Insight

Openwave, formerly Phone.com and before that Unwired Planet, was responsible for large parts of the original WAP specification. In light of the lacklustre adoption of first generation WAP services, it’s an open question whether this is a qualification or a period of its history it would rather forget.

Version 6.1 of its Mobile Browser is much improved and delivers a rich experience for the user. However, despite widespread agreement on XHTML 2.0 as the standard for delivering mobile internet content, there are still significant presentational differences between Openwave, Nokia and other browsers. The wireless industry must act now to avoid a situation similar to the late 90s web environment, where developers had to write several versions of their site for different browsers.

Openwave may think its commercial interests are best served by creating a suite of server and client applications which use proprietary technology to enhance the user experience. This is a short-term and simplistic view. This is not the desktop market and Openwave is not Microsoft. Interoperability and open standards are the key to end-user adoption of wireless services, the overall growth of the market and – long-term – Openwave’s own success.


Originally published by PMN Mobile Industry Intelligence, the subscription-based analysis and insight platform founded by Marek Pawlowski.
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