Welcome!

Mobile IoT Authors: Lucia Schöpfer, Elizabeth White, Carmen Gonzalez, Liz McMillan, Peter Silva

Related Topics: Mobile IoT

Mobile IoT: 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
    Discover top technologies and tools all under one roof at April 24–28, 2017, at the Westin San Diego in San Diego, CA. Explore the Mobile Dev + Test and IoT Dev + Test Expo and enjoy all of these unique opportunities: The latest solutions, technologies, and tools in mobile or IoT software development and testing. Meet one-on-one with representatives from some of today's most innovative organizations
    20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
    WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web communications world. The 6th WebRTC Summit continues our tradition of delivering the latest and greatest presentations within the world of WebRTC. Topics include voice calling, video chat, P2P file sharing, and use cases that have already leveraged the power and convenience of WebRTC.
    SYS-CON Events announced today that Super Micro Computer, Inc., a global leader in Embedded and IoT solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Supermicro (NASDAQ: SMCI), the leading innovator in high-performance, high-efficiency server technology, is a premier provider of advanced server Building Block Solutions® for Data Center, Cloud Computing, Enterprise IT, Hadoop/Big Data, HPC and E...
    Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. @ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
    WebRTC sits at the intersection between VoIP and the Web. As such, it poses some interesting challenges for those developing services on top of it, but also for those who need to test and monitor these services. In his session at WebRTC Summit, Tsahi Levent-Levi, co-founder of testRTC, reviewed the various challenges posed by WebRTC when it comes to testing and monitoring and on ways to overcome them.
    DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain. In this power panel at @...
    WebRTC services have already permeated corporate communications in the form of videoconferencing solutions. However, WebRTC has the potential of going beyond and catalyzing a new class of services providing more than calls with capabilities such as mass-scale real-time media broadcasting, enriched and augmented video, person-to-machine and machine-to-machine communications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Luis Lopez, CEO of Kurento, introduced the technologies required for implementing these idea...
    Buzzword alert: Microservices and IoT at a DevOps conference? What could possibly go wrong? In this Power Panel at DevOps Summit, moderated by Jason Bloomberg, the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise and president of Intellyx, panelists peeled away the buzz and discuss the important architectural principles behind implementing IoT solutions for the enterprise. As remote IoT devices and sensors become increasingly intelligent, they become part of our distributed cloud enviro...
    "A lot of times people will come to us and have a very diverse set of requirements or very customized need and we'll help them to implement it in a fashion that you can't just buy off of the shelf," explained Nick Rose, CTO of Enzu, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
    The WebRTC Summit New York, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Topics include all aspects of improving IT delivery by eliminating waste through automated business models leveraging cloud technologies. WebRTC Summit is co-located with 20th International Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo. WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web co...
    In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
    For basic one-to-one voice or video calling solutions, WebRTC has proven to be a very powerful technology. Although WebRTC’s core functionality is to provide secure, real-time p2p media streaming, leveraging native platform features and server-side components brings up new communication capabilities for web and native mobile applications, allowing for advanced multi-user use cases such as video broadcasting, conferencing, and media recording.
    Web Real-Time Communication APIs have quickly revolutionized what browsers are capable of. In addition to video and audio streams, we can now bi-directionally send arbitrary data over WebRTC's PeerConnection Data Channels. With the advent of Progressive Web Apps and new hardware APIs such as WebBluetooh and WebUSB, we can finally enable users to stitch together the Internet of Things directly from their browsers while communicating privately and securely in a decentralized way.
    WebRTC is about the data channel as much as about video and audio conferencing. However, basically all commercial WebRTC applications have been built with a focus on audio and video. The handling of “data” has been limited to text chat and file download – all other data sharing seems to end with screensharing. What is holding back a more intensive use of peer-to-peer data? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Dr Silvia Pfeiffer, WebRTC Applications Team Lead at National ICT Australia, looked at differ...
    The security needs of IoT environments require a strong, proven approach to maintain security, trust and privacy in their ecosystem. Assurance and protection of device identity, secure data encryption and authentication are the key security challenges organizations are trying to address when integrating IoT devices. This holds true for IoT applications in a wide range of industries, for example, healthcare, consumer devices, and manufacturing. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lancen LaChance, vic...
    With all the incredible momentum behind the Internet of Things (IoT) industry, it is easy to forget that not a single CEO wakes up and wonders if “my IoT is broken.” What they wonder is if they are making the right decisions to do all they can to increase revenue, decrease costs, and improve customer experience – effectively the same challenges they have always had in growing their business. The exciting thing about the IoT industry is now these decisions can be better, faster, and smarter. Now ...
    Fact is, enterprises have significant legacy voice infrastructure that’s costly to replace with pure IP solutions. How can we bring this analog infrastructure into our shiny new cloud applications? There are proven methods to bind both legacy voice applications and traditional PSTN audio into cloud-based applications and services at a carrier scale. Some of the most successful implementations leverage WebRTC, WebSockets, SIP and other open source technologies. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Da...
    Who are you? How do you introduce yourself? Do you use a name, or do you greet a friend by the last four digits of his social security number? Assuming you don’t, why are we content to associate our identity with 10 random digits assigned by our phone company? Identity is an issue that affects everyone, but as individuals we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ben Klang, Founder & President of Mojo Lingo, discussed the impact of technology on identity. Sho...
    A critical component of any IoT project is what to do with all the data being generated. This data needs to be captured, processed, structured, and stored in a way to facilitate different kinds of queries. Traditional data warehouse and analytical systems are mature technologies that can be used to handle certain kinds of queries, but they are not always well suited to many problems, particularly when there is a need for real-time insights.