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Alcatel-Lucent acquires OpenPlug to enable cross-platform app development

Alcatel-Lucent has acquired mobile software and applications development tools vendor OpenPlug to deepen its role in the applications space.

OpenPlug will be added to Alcatel-Lucent?s integrated suite of tools to help software developers write an application once and translate it to run on any of the five major mobile operating systems. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

?Open Plug is a tool that is extremely valuable to our strategy,? said Laura Merling, San Francisco-based vice president of global developer strategy at Alcatel-Lucent. ?Over the course of the last five months, we?ve been releasing products and solutions that help across the industry to drive the adoption of the network as an application development platform.

?We have a series of products that create an end-to-end strategy about bringing apps to market and reducing fragmentation, and Open Plug is a key component to that,? she said. ?If I?m a developer and I have to choose a particular platform to build an app for, the time and cost of bringing an app to market are potential barriers.

?Carriers typically have a variety of devices based on a variety of operating systems, so they want to provide as much as they can in terms of content?they want the broadest reach for their customer base.?

Alcatel-Lucent partners with service providers, enterprises, governments and strategic industries such as defense, energy, healthcare and transportation worldwide to deliver voice, data and video communication services to consumers.

OpenPlug is a software provider specializing in mobile telephony and commercializes a range of patented technologies that facilitate the development of mobile phones, smartphones and the applications that run on them.

U.S. OpenPlug
OpenPlug lets Alcatel-Lucent offer service providers, enterprises and developers the ability to create applications that can be without customization across multiple mobile devices and within service provider application stores.

As a result, applications that had previously only been available on more sophisticated devices such as smartphones can now be downloaded by consumers on any mobile device.

This could open up opportunities in emerging markets, where low-cost mobile phone circulation is highest.

This is the second acquisition Alcatel-Lucent has made over the past three months to expand and enhance its offerings for the application ecosystem.

In June, the company acquired ProgrammableWeb, a source of API-related content the for technology industry.

Service providers and developers have had to be selective about which of the many mobile platforms they will write applications for, limiting their potential for service adoption and hence revenue potential, according to Alcatel-Lucent.

OpenPlug?s mobile software is designed to solve this problem by letting developers write applications once and convert the application code into native software that runs on any leading mobile device operating system, including iPhone, Android, Symbian, Windows Mobile and Linux.

With the OpenPlug acquisition, Alcatel-Lucent?s goal is to help its clients extend the reach and discoverability of their applications beyond today?s smartphones to create new business models between service providers and developers.

Ms. Merling said that being able to provide more applications across multiple devices helps service providers significantly broaden their App Store content to create more value for consumers.

As service providers typically offer multiple mobile devices to their subscriber base, the OpenPlug software can help them reduce time to market by as much as 80 percent by allowing them to easily port an application to all of their devices, according to Alcatel-Lucent.

In addition to mobile operating systems, the software can be extended to connected devices such as IPTV set top boxes, game consoles and the ng Connect LTE Connected Car.

The OpenPlug toolset will be available through ProgrammableWeb and will also be incorporated into Alcatel-Lucent?s Developer Platform and Open API Service, thus broadening the functionality available to service providers, enterprises and developers for the exposure of network assets and the introduction of new services across mobile and Web domains.

The move is intended to advance Alcatel-Lucent?s Application Enablement strategy, which is focused on combining the trusted and secure network capabilities of service providers with the speed and innovation of the Web to provide a richer end-user experience.

?Open Plug lets you write the application using a single code base, then you can convert a single application into various operating systems and compile it to the native device itself,? Ms. Merling said. ?It supports iOS, Symbian, Windows, Android and others.

?Open Plug will actually compile applications to various devices? native experience,? she said. ?In addition, Open Plug is the only provider out there with a product that also targets feature phones.?