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Value-based Billing for Wireless Java Applications  : Page 5

If you're going to deploy sophisticated mobile applications such as m-commerce, you have to design sophisticated programs to handle billing for those applications simultaneously. JSR 190 is a new J2ME extension that purports to offer a streamlined, flexible mobile billing process. Find out what it can do.




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The Future of JSR 190
Despite the convenience of JSR 190, there are still issues to be addressed. Why not use standardized Web services to accomplish the same thing? This would let operators provide value-based billing in exactly the same way to any device using any language or platform. In addition, using Web service-based billing would simplify the process of letting operators hook into UDDI, so that the "smartphones" themselves could browse for and consume available services automatically.

The advantage of using JSR 190 over Web services is three fold. First, the protocol is very light weight. As bandwidth does cost money, either the end user—or more likely the operator—will have to absorb the cost of transmitting billing information. Therefore, the less traffic it introduces the better. Secondly, one should note the communication protocol between the handset and the server is not Java specific. As a result, the same billing infrastructure can be used for other data services. Finally, JSR 190 can be used in existing MIDP 1.0 handsets today through code instrumentation. Whereas, those wanting to use Web services (JSR 172) for this purpose will have to wait for the handset adopt the technology first. However, over time, the APIs/protocol will evolve to utilize more standardized communication mechanism such as Wireless Web Services (JSR 172).

Streamlined and Flexible
Developers need to be aware of billing models because ultimately the chosen model hits them in the pocketbook. Value-based billing models are flexible—a key ingredient in a developing industry, particularly with the broad range of J2ME applications now being developed. The JSR 190 Event Tracking API provides operators, content providers, and developers with usage statistics that allow monitoring of customer behavior and ground-level information for the next generation of applications. As a standard, the JSR 190 streamlines the tracking methodology and reduces redundancy between interfaces. It can submit the usage information according to the individual application and is adaptable to different types of usages. Indeed, the goal of JSR 190 is simple: help the mobile phone to be as smart as it can be.

Allen Lau holds Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of Toronto and has over 12 years experience in software development and publishing. Before joining Tira Wireless, Allen led the development efforts at Symantec and was a key player in the development of its flagship WinFax product, which has sold over 40 million copies worldwide. He can be reached at alau@tirawireless.com.
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