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Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless (BREW) is an application development platform for mobile phones that was originally developed by Qualcomm Corp. BREW is a thin client sitting between the software application and the ASIC (Applications Specific Integrated Circuit) level software, freeing the developers from directly interfacing with lower-level system interfaces.
The freely downloadable BREW SDK supports program development in C, C++ or Java (if the handset runs a Java Virtual Machine).
A second component of BREW is the BREW Distribution System (BDS), facilitating end users to shop for, purchase, download, and install software over the wireless carrier's network.
Brew originally was for CDMA phones but now currently also supports GSM devices. The main advantage of the platform is that it allows developers to port their programs to any Qualcomm device.
BREW, like other integrated development environments (IDE) supports application development with a Software Development Kit (SDK). The SDK contains all the tools necessary to develop software to be deployed on the chosen phone. The SDK contains an emulator (its name changed to BREW Simulator), which allows the developer to test programs quickly. However, since the program is compiled to the host computer’s native code and linked with a BREW runtime library, and the phone hardware is not simulated, thorough, run-time testing requires a BREW handset running in test mode.
BREW provides various levels of application signatures; a signature that authenticates the developer and signatures that verify the program has passed the “TRUE BREW” test cycle - granted only by Qualcomm.
From the business perspective, on the one hand, the SDK is provided free of charge. On the other hand, developers have to pay for their applications to be digitally signed in order to release them for distribution. Non-commercial use for personal purposes is free.