Opinion: Will Mobile Streaming Succeed?
Mobile devices may soon be connected to wireless networks, giving them the ability to run large applications without storing them locally. Citrix Systems, Nortel Networks, and AppStream are amongst a handful of companies who hope to have mobile streaming technology up within a year. Using a technique known as application streaming, these firms aim to bring new functionality to handhelds and cell phones.
Following in the footsteps of Japan’s Java-centered mobile market, AppStream has honed in on Java as the language of choice for wireless. It envisions Java-enabled cell phones featuring a menu of all the different applications available through service packages. These phones will store frequently used features locally whilst accessing others from network servers.
In addition to running Japanese favorites such as Java-based chat, email, and video games over its envisioned Wireless Network servers, AppStream technology should provide mobile users with richer interactive interfaces and continuous networked services. The company is pursuing several licensing agreements and envisions having its application streaming network up and running within a year.
Convinced that Microsoft’s .Net is the future, Nortel Networks’ Application Management Solutions is focusing on releasing products for the Windows CE operating system for wireless devices. According to Nortel’s Jon Friedman, Nortel aims to break applications into small chunks, giving networks the ability to “see what a running mobile application asks for and provide it on demand.”
Instead of breaking applications into component parts and sending users various parts when they need them, Citrix Systems is devising technology that will handle all of the computational work necessitated by various applications. The Citrix solution will require mobile users to load a program with a compressed screen image onto their handhelds from a their network. This method would entail a continuous shuttling to-and-fro between the network and mobile devices of clicks, keystrokes, and screen images and will undoubtedly require quite a powerful server bank. Unperturbed by the heady requirements, Motorola has already signed a deal that sees them incorporating Citrix’s technology.
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