BREW (Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless) was a solution developed by Qualcomm for downloading small applications and content to mobile phones.
BREW has faded in popularity since the advent of smartphones, which can run much richer, more powerful apps than BREW allows.
The primary component lets users download and run small software applications on wireless devices, including phones. Such applications might include games, expense tracking software, or interactive map tools. This component of BREW competes with J2ME, a Java technology from Sun Microsystems. BREW and Java are generally not compatible.
The BREW subsystem on a phone can also manage graphics and ringtones.
The BREW solution also includes a server component which resides on the network. The BREW server manages the network side of BREW downloads, including billing, and can also serve and bill for non-BREW applications and content.
Qualcomm has come out with a more advanced version of BREW called BREW-MP that is designed to provide most of the functionality of a smartphone, but is aimed at devices priced lower than a typical smartphone. It has not been very popular.