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Selected Highlights
Mobile applica-
tions - More
than a hype

 

Apple's App
store and
beyond

 

A platform for
portable apps -
Open source
initiative BONDI

 

Mobile Web applications -
The approach
of Research in
Motion

 

Challenges for
mobile applica-
tions - Strategic considerations by eMobility

 

A platform for portable apps

Open source initiative BONDI

                                                                           

Katrin_Jordan

Katrin Jordan
Deutsche Telekom
Technology Strategy and Architecture
katrin.jordan@telekom.de

Mobile web applications such as widgets or web pages are becoming increasingly popular. However, developers today are confronted with diverse, non-standardised runtime environments on mobile terminals, or closed, vertical ecosystems such as those of Apple or Google. Currently, this prevents a direct portability of applications between mobile terminal systems. The open source initiative BONDI aims to change this. BONDI works towards developing an open platform which enables portability of mobile applications.

Writing applications for one ecosystem today does not allow simple re-deployment in another. In order to tackle that problem, the open source initiative BONDI has the vision of enabling a cross platform ecosystem in which such a portability becomes possible. Some of the largest operators worldwide, like Deutsche Telekom, AT&T, Orange, Smart, Telecom Italia, Telefonica, Vodafone and others, have aligned with terminal and software vendors, with research institutes as e.g. Fraunhofer Fokus, with developers and with other industry bodies to realise this vision. The outcome will be a key driver for the evolution of new mobile applications.

BONDI will provide access to powerful functionalities in a mobile device - in a secure way and consistently across devices and operating systems. The BONDI initiative is part of Open Mobile Terminal Platform (OMTP). OMTP is a forum with members from across the mobile phone value chain, set up with the aim of gathering and driving mobile terminal requirements to ensure consistent and secure implementations, thereby reducing fragmentation and simplifying the customer experience of mobile data services across mobile terminals. 

Consistent and secure APIs

Since its launch in 2008, BONDI has defined an architecture and delivered specifications, including a set of terminal programming interfaces (APIs), which enable mobile web applications. 


BONDI architecture

The APIs defined include, for example:

  • Location - assess the phone’s current location via: Cell-ID, GPS, Bluetooth GPS, WLAN estimates etc.

  • Personal Information Manager - use data including calendar, tasks and contacts.

  • Messaging - use of the phone’s messaging capability, including email, SMS, MMS.

  • Camera – use  of the integrated camera for picture and video capturing

  • Application Invoke - ability to launch native applications such as the dialler, browser or the messaging client.

  • Phone Status - query the current phone status, including battery life, network status, accelerometers etc.

As BONDI enables applications to access sensitive terminal functions, it also comes with a very strong security framework to protect users from attacks by malicious applications.   

Write once, deploy anywhere

BONDI aims to realise the vision of “Write once, deploy anywhere”. Providing developers of mobile web applications with a consistent development environment requires an industry-wide alignment, the use of standards, and a strong compliance framework. BONDI endorses W3C web standards for browser and widget runtimes and is a complete open source solution, available to any vendor or service provider. It provides specifications for terminal APIs, a security framework, a reference implementation, and a strong compliance framework to minimize incompatibility.  

BONDI becomes reality

After its success in 2009 and the release of version 1.1 in February 2010, BONDI will continue with further development in 2010. There will be a new release 1.5, increasing global support, references by operators and commercial terminal implementations throughout 2010, with numerous demonstrations already at the Mobile World Congress 2010.

A host of support software is also emerging. There are software development kits and other tools available to developers. BONDI widgets are easy to create. All it requires is a good idea and a little bit of HTML and JavaScript experience.

The API specifications for BONDI devices are designed for being used in conjunction with BONDI’s application security framework by any existing or future application ecosystems. 

Outlook

Further BONDI APIs are planned which will address trends such as sensors, Bluetooth, telephony functionalities and security enablers needed, e.g., for m-payment. The testing framework will also be enhanced. Close alignment with W3C will be continued to drive standardisation.

Launched to drive consistent terminal implementations for web applications, the BONDI initiative has attracted a fast-growing community in a very short time. Deutsche Telekom and other large and small players will remain highly committed. Further operators, terminal vendors or application developers are welcome to join.

Examples of BONDI apps

Gig Guide, one of the first BONDI widgets to be developed, uses a whole range of BONDI APIs: it detects your location and provides you with a list of all music events in your vicinity – regardless of whether you travel in Paris, London, Las Vegas or at home. GigGuide recommends the best route to the event, stores a selected event in your calendar and allows you to send all details via SMS to your friends – all within a few clicks.

In a similarly easy way, a BONDI widget could identify your location, if you are lost in a foreign city and don’t have a travel guide. provide you with all information about the best transport means, prices of tickets and how to find, for example, the next bus stop.

Another BONDI app could provide details for the closest petrol station and a reminder for the next service – all in a few clicks and offering the same functionality across devices and operating systems.

Another BONDI app could provide details for the closest skiing resorts and links to the respective web cams and latest snow reports. 


More information and BONDI’s SDK (Software Development Kit) are available at bondi.omtp.org.

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