Big technology companies like Qualcomm, Motorola, Sun Microsystems, Nokia, Microsoft, and Intel are all striving to establish themselves as the go-to standard for wireless devices, much like Windows is for PCs. The competition is fierce as they aim to set the standard for wireless software, creating new revenue streams amidst a potentially multibillion-dollar industry. This drive for dominance in wireless standards is reminiscent of the battle between Microsoft and Intel in the 1980s, which shaped the landscape of personal computing.

Qualcomm recently unveiled their new wireless Internet and software development technology called BREW (Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless), designed to enable developers to create applications for any wireless phone. This move signals Qualcomm’s strategic shift towards mobile phone software as a lucrative revenue source in light of the plateauing handset sales.

The wireless industry is currently marked by a multitude of standards and technologies, such as GSM, CDMA, and TDMA, leading to fragmentation and compatibility issues. While Qualcomm’s BREW joins the ranks of existing standards efforts, companies like Openwave Systems have made significant strides in establishing their software as the de facto standard for wireless browsing.

Despite the plethora of initiatives in the wireless software space, industry experts highlight Sun’s Java 2 Micro Edition (J2ME) as a frontrunner, backed by its large developer community and robust application ecosystem. The challenge lies in driving consumer adoption and awareness of the benefits of mobile web surfing, which remains a key hurdle for the success of these software initiatives.

Overall, the wireless industry is undergoing a transformative phase as key players compete to shape the future of wireless technology. As companies vie for dominance in the market, collaboration and innovation will be crucial in driving the industry forward and delivering seamless experiences for users worldwide.