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Qualcomm APIs upgrades Web apps hardware access

Posted: 08 Jun 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:API? web-based applications? Web browsers?

Hoping to help the industry move away from the currently fragmented native mobile environments, Qualcomm Inc. will introduce in the next nine months what it claims to be a set of APIs that will give Web-based applications greater access to hardware.

Specifically, Qualcomm plans to create the equivalent of APIs for geo-location, sensors, cameras, audio, augmented reality and its AllJoyn peer-to-peer networking technology. The APIs will be implemented as bindings for Javascript, the programming language Web app developers commonly use to execute c.

"We will in a variety of subject areas expose these device APIs right into the browser," said Sy Choudhury, a director of product management at Qualcomm in an interview at the Uplinq conference in San Diego, California.

The work is currently targeting the Android, Chrome and WebOS browsers. About 70 percent of the code in those browsers is similar and based on standards such as Webkit, the Linux networking stack and the V8 Java virtual machine, he said.

Qualcomm currently supports Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone and WebOS mobile OS among others. A move to Web-based applications would help it reduce the variety of platforms for which it needs to write software supporting its chips.

A shift to Web apps also potentially draws in a broader set of developers, such as Linux server developers, said Choudhury.

Google also promotes the idea of Web apps with its Chrome and Chrome OS initiatives. However, the search giant did not discuss at its recent Google I/O dev con any initiatives to use APIs or language bindings to help Web apps improve access to native hardware.

Separately, Qualcomm has been working for two years to optimize software so that browsers run as fast as possible on its chips. Thanks to a host of tuning efforts it claims Javascript executes up to 30 percent faster, Web pages download 21 percent faster and re-load 30 percent faster when run on the Snapdragon variant of the Gingerbread version of Android, compared to the base version.

- Rick Merritt
??EE Times

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