Mobile Communication Technologies

The world of commercially available mobile wireless systems divides into two major camps: CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access), driven mainly by Qualcomm and 3GPP2, and GSM (Global System for Mobile communications), driven by 2GPP. Although these two systems have very different air interfaces, at the application level they are quite similar and to most consumers the technologies are probably identical.

Both systems can support all the major mobile application development tools & and environments (BREW, J2ME, Windows Mobile, and Symbian/Series 60). Of course, what applications are available on a given phone depends on a combination of factors decided by operators, handset manufacturers, and tool providers. For example, it's probably not likely that we will ever see a commercial Symbian device that works on a CDMA operator's network.

Both systems support text (Short Message Service - SMS) and multimedia messages (MMS), using very similar standards. Although the implementation of SMS is very different in the two systems, users can send SMS and MMS messages between the two systems and the same application programming interfaces are available on both systems.

In the past few years there has a major effort by 3GPP and 3GPP2 to unify the specification for next generation data services. This effort has been fairly successful, resulting in the IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) specifications. The 3GPP and 3GPP2 versions of these specifications are almost identical.

Two key sources of CDMA knowledge:

Some key sources of GSM knowledge:

Sources of knowledge shared by both systems:

Mobile Application Development

Updated 10/05/2006.

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