Welcome!

Wireless Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Trevor Parsons, Christophe Primault, Kevin Benedict

Related Topics: Wireless

Wireless: Article

Openwave's V7 Mobile Browser: Enhancing Phone Usability

Openwave's V7 Mobile Browser: Enhancing Phone Usability

With the advent of Phoneware and with V7 in particular, there is now a much richer mobile phone platform to deploy content for. What does this mean for handset manufacturers, carriers, and developers?

When friends and acquaintances ask who I work for, I say Openwave and observe the perplexed look on their faces. I am then quick to mention that our business is all about WAP, MMS, and wireless. If I worked for Nokia, everyone would recognize the company brand right away, even though Openwave software is present on more mobile phones. The difference is that Openwave is behind the scenes, providing the technology that makes mobile data work.

For this reason, I always take a minute to explain that a lot of popular phones run our browser (of course, I am careful not to sound too pedantic). Occasionally, people mention that they recognized the Openwave logo on the display of their mobile phones when they hit the Internet button. When I hear that, I get a little satisfaction.

An Old-Timer
The Openwave browser has been around for quite some time. Its first incarnations date back to 1995, when Openwave (or Unwired Planet, as it was called at the time) released its first HDML browser. The idea was to bring the Internet to mobile phones, while keeping within the limitations of the medium. Since then we have been on an upward trend. Version 4 of the browser (1998) marked the advent of WAP. A couple of years later Version 5 (V5) brought colors and a more interactive experience. The current browser (V6) embraces WAP2 and the transition to XHTML, converging with the broader Web.

In this article, we'll take a closer look at Openwave's next-generation browser, V7, to see what handset manufacturers, carriers, and developers can expect. As you'll see, client software has become much more than the browser.

Capabilities of the V7 Client Software
The V7 Browser is part of Openwave's new line of client software, called Openwave Phone Suite Version 7, a set of integrated mobile applications built to a flexible, modular architecture, including:

  • Openwave V7 Browser: Builds on Openwave's industry-leading WAP 2.0 browser, with support for both XHTML-MP and CSS. At a feature level it offers multimedia support, download, and push services as well as useful applications such as bookmarks and snapshots.
  • Openwave Mobile Messaging Client: A single integrated mobile-messaging client enabling multimedia messaging (MMS), enhanced messaging (EMS), and short messaging (SMS).
  • Openwave Mobile File and Application Manager: A comprehensive file system that allows for local storage and management of content, including Java and multimedia content.
  • V7 Framework: The architecture underpinning Openwave's application suite and powering V7's rich customization capabilities with its advanced graphics engine (see Figure 1). Manufacturers and selected partners building applications to the framework benefit from its rich graphical interfaces and the ability to integrate with other applications. Openwave's preintegration of the Real Networks RealOne Player with V7 is a great example of this, offering handset manufacturers a rapid, low-risk implementation of streaming video for massmarket phones.

     

    All of the V7 applications, including the Browser, are integrated, allowing end users to move seamlessly from one to another. Built to the underlying framework, they share V7's advanced graphics engine that delivers capabilities such as alpha-blending, supporting image transparencies, and giving users the ability to preview pictures without opening them, as well as zooming and cool menus. All of these bring the overall user experience to new heights of quality.

    Overview of the V7 Architecture
    V7 offers manufacturers an integrated mobile-messaging client and browser application, built to an embedded middleware layer, the V7 Framework, which houses core-shared resources such as: Openwave's advanced 2D graphics engine; Java application manager; and services such as the network stack, memory management, and file manager. Additional applications preintegrated with the V7 framework currently include the Aplix JBlend JVM and the RealNetworks RealOne Player.

    Core benefits of the V7 architecture include:

  • Small footprint: V7 applications share resources and code housed in the framework layer, minimizing ROM requirements.
  • Low memory requirements: V7 is designed to enable dynamic memory management and reuse of system resources, thereby minimizing RAM requirements.
  • Simplified integration: With applications built to the framework layer, porting and integration is reduced to a single effort.
  • Extensibility: Application updates are decoupled from platform integration, enabling manufacturers to easily update the software on specific phone models.

    V7 is a great example of software in the emerging category of Phoneware (see sidebar). Nokia's Series 60 for Symbian also fits within this category. However, Openwave's software is distinct in a couple of ways:
    1. It covers a far broader range of phones. Openwave has already announced that V7 will be available for Linux, and is continuing to focus on delivering expanded functionality to phones utilizing existing embedded operating systems, or RTOS.
    2. As it was born and evolved on (and for) small phones, V7 has far greater reach and relevance than competing phoneware solutions, making it the rational and cost-efficient way to deliver rich applications to the mass market of mobile phones.

    What's in It for Developers?
    Having mentioned how V7 benefits handset manufacturers, it is also worth taking a look at what V7 means for developers. The good news is that, with the advent of Phoneware and with V7 in particular, there is now a much richer mobile phone platform to deploy content for (see Figures 2–4).

     

    For example, Openwave's integration of RealOne Player with V7:

  • Integrates high-quality audio/video experience into mass-market handsets, ensuring that the installed base of video-ready phones grows quickly.
  • Brings new revenue-generating services to market quickly and at low risk.
  • Supports a wide range of codecs including RealAudio/RealVideo, 3GPP, MPEG-4, and MP3.
  • Integrates with other Version 7 applications to allow users to move seamlessly between RealOne Player and other phone functions.

    Conclusion
    Just as the desktop browser has evolved into the operating environment for many applications, so the browser in a mobile phone is becoming central to the handset's operation, with everything beyond the basic voice-call functionality moving toward integration with the browser. Version 7 of the Openwave browser provides greater flexibility in the interface, and more opportunities for integrated content and services. As device capabilities increase, Openwave presents another step toward a more compelling model for data services, even if it's one most consumers will never notice is there.

    Embedded middleware is software that glues together everything that a phone needs to do, mediating between phone hardware and a core set of integrated mobile applications to deliver a consistent user experience. It forms a key element of phoneware, providing the utilities, services, and components necessary to deliver messaging, browsing, and download applications across different execution environments.

    Phoneware helps manufacturers address operator service requirements in a compelling and cost-efficient manner. By implementing a core set of integrated, interoperable applications, manufacturers can accelerate development time while also ensuring a consistent and seamless user experience.

    At the same time, embedded middleware allows applications to share resources and code, thereby minimizing footprint requirements. Since applications are written to this embedded layer, multiple applications can now be supported from a single porting and integration effort, promoting greater production efficiency.

    Further, by writing core applications to an embedded middleware layer, manufacturers significantly enhance the flexibility of their phone platform. Application updates are separated from phone-layer integration and manufacturers can leverage a single interface for customization of phone look, feel, and behavior. Moreover, this use of shared resources permits a higher degree of integration between applications, enhancing phone usability.

    THE ROLE OF PHONEWARE
    The requirements placed on mobile phones are increasing substantially as services evolve from voice only, to voice plus wireless Internet, plus Multimedia Messaging (MMS), plus Java downloads. Implementing a wider range of applications on existing phone platforms requires manufacturers to take a long look at how best to manage integration costs while maintaining phone performance. Most of Openwave's manufacturer customers already recognize this challenge and are actively addressing it by building their own embedded middleware, leveraging browser software to manage application requirements through the sharing of common resources.

    This new focus on how to implement an expanding range of capabilities on existing phone systems is resulting in demand for a new class of software that can weave together applications on the phone in a consistent manner for the user while maximizing production efficiencies – phoneware.

    PHONEWARE = INTEGRATED MOBILE APPLICATIONS + EMBEDDED MIDDLEWARE

  • More Stories By Luca Passani

    Luca Passani, a Technical Advisory Board Member of of WBT, is Tools Development Manager for Openwave Systems, where he has led the OUI project. Luca has a Masters in Computer Science from the University of Pisa and several years of experience in Web development in Scandinavia. Over the past few years Luca has been working almonst exclusively with WAP. He is the author of several technical articles about WAP and WAP-related programming techniques and is a coauthor of "Professional WAP" (Wrox Press, 2001).

    Comments (0)

    Share your thoughts on this story.

    Add your comment
    You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

    In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


    @ThingsExpo Stories
    DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential.
    “In the past year we've seen a lot of stabilization of WebRTC. You can now use it in production with a far greater degree of certainty. A lot of the real developments in the past year have been in things like the data channel, which will enable a whole new type of application," explained Peter Dunkley, Technical Director at Acision, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
    SYS-CON Events announced today that Windstream, a leading provider of advanced network and cloud communications, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN), a FORTUNE 500 and S&P 500 company, is a leading provider of advanced network communications, including cloud computing and managed services, to businesses nationwide. The company also offers broadband, phone and digital TV services to consumers primarily in rural areas.
    The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com), moderated by Ashar Baig, Research Director, Cloud, at Gigaom Research, Nate Gordon, Director of T...
    The Internet of Things is not new. Historically, smart businesses have used its basic concept of leveraging data to drive better decision making and have capitalized on those insights to realize additional revenue opportunities. So, what has changed to make the Internet of Things one of the hottest topics in tech? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Gray, Director, Embedded and Internet of Things, discussed the underlying factors that are driving the economics of intelligent systems. Discover how hardware commoditization, the ubiquitous nature of connectivity, and the emergence of Big Data a...
    "BSQUARE is in the business of selling software solutions for smart connected devices. It's obvious that IoT has moved from being a technology to being a fundamental part of business, and in the last 18 months people have said let's figure out how to do it and let's put some focus on it, " explained Dave Wagstaff, VP & Chief Architect, at BSQUARE Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.

    ARMONK, N.Y., Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --  IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it is bringing a greater level of control, security and flexibility to cloud-based application development and delivery with a single-tenant version of Bluemix, IBM's platform-as-a-service. The new platform enables developers to build ap...

    SYS-CON Events announced today that IDenticard will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. IDenticard™ is the security division of Brady Corp (NYSE: BRC), a $1.5 billion manufacturer of identification products. We have small-company values with the strength and stability of a major corporation. IDenticard offers local sales, support and service to our customers across the United States and Canada. Our partner network encompasses some 300 of the world's leading systems integrators and security s...
    "People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
    Nigeria has the largest economy in Africa, at more than US$500 billion, and ranks 23rd in the world. A recent re-evaluation of Nigeria's true economic size doubled the previous estimate, and brought it well ahead of South Africa, which is a member (unlike Nigeria) of the G20 club for political as well as economic reasons. Nigeria's economy can be said to be quite diverse from one point of view, but heavily dependent on oil and gas at the same time. Oil and natural gas account for about 15% of Nigera's overall economy, but traditionally represent more than 90% of the country's exports and as...
    The Internet of Things is a misnomer. That implies that everything is on the Internet, and that simply should not be - especially for things that are blurring the line between medical devices that stimulate like a pacemaker and quantified self-sensors like a pedometer or pulse tracker. The mesh of things that we manage must be segmented into zones of trust for sensing data, transmitting data, receiving command and control administrative changes, and peer-to-peer mesh messaging. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ryan Bagnulo, Solution Architect / Software Engineer at SOA Software, focused on desi...
    "At our booth we are showing how to provide trust in the Internet of Things. Trust is where everything starts to become secure and trustworthy. Now with the scaling of the Internet of Things it becomes an interesting question – I've heard numbers from 200 billion devices next year up to a trillion in the next 10 to 15 years," explained Johannes Lintzen, Vice President of Sales at Utimaco, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
    "For over 25 years we have been working with a lot of enterprise customers and we have seen how companies create applications. And now that we have moved to cloud computing, mobile, social and the Internet of Things, we see that the market needs a new way of creating applications," stated Jesse Shiah, CEO, President and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
    SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built to optimize Microsoft workloads, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Gridstore™ is the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built for Microsoft workloads and designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Gridstore’s hyper-converged infrastructure is the industry’s first all flash version of HyperConverged Appliances that include both compute and storag...
    Today’s enterprise is being driven by disruptive competitive and human capital requirements to provide enterprise application access through not only desktops, but also mobile devices. To retrofit existing programs across all these devices using traditional programming methods is very costly and time consuming – often prohibitively so. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO, President, and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., discussed how you can create applications that run on all mobile devices as well as laptops and desktops using a visual drag-and-drop application – and eForms-buildi...
    We certainly live in interesting technological times. And no more interesting than the current competing IoT standards for connectivity. Various standards bodies, approaches, and ecosystems are vying for mindshare and positioning for a competitive edge. It is clear that when the dust settles, we will have new protocols, evolved protocols, that will change the way we interact with devices and infrastructure. We will also have evolved web protocols, like HTTP/2, that will be changing the very core of our infrastructures. At the same time, we have old approaches made new again like micro-services...
    Code Halos - aka "digital fingerprints" - are the key organizing principle to understand a) how dumb things become smart and b) how to monetize this dynamic. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Brown, AVP, Center for the Future of Work at Cognizant Technology Solutions, outlined research, analysis and recommendations from his recently published book on this phenomena on the way leading edge organizations like GE and Disney are unlocking the Internet of Things opportunity and what steps your organization should be taking to position itself for the next platform of digital competition.
    The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
    As the Internet of Things unfolds, mobile and wearable devices are blurring the line between physical and digital, integrating ever more closely with our interests, our routines, our daily lives. Contextual computing and smart, sensor-equipped spaces bring the potential to walk through a world that recognizes us and responds accordingly. We become continuous transmitters and receivers of data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Bolwell, Director of Innovation for HP's Printing and Personal Systems Group, discussed how key attributes of mobile technology – touch input, sensors, social, and ...
    In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect at GE, and Ibrahim Gokcen, who leads GE's advanced IoT analytics, focused on the Internet of Things / Industrial Internet and how to make it operational for business end-users. Learn about the challenges posed by machine and sensor data and how to marry it with enterprise data. They also discussed the tips and tricks to provide the Industrial Internet as an end-user consumable service using Big Data Analytics and Industrial Cloud.