2 More Steps Forward for Java Mobile Devs

Sun, along with Nokia, Orange, Vodafone and other leading Java-enabled handset makers and mobile carriers, are taking steps to help push bigger and better mobile apps development in Java/J2ME. Take a closer look at new JSRs for making Java app dev more portable across handsets. Also, Sun starts the countdown on the January 2005 requirement for all Java mobile apps to pass through the Java Verified testing and certification program.

Tags: Mobile, Java, Service Architecture, Specifications, Apps, JSR, Sun,

In an effort to make Java mobile app development easier, Nokia, Orange, SOny-Ericsson and Vodafone among other mobile vendors are pushing a new more open, and unified Java-for-mobile architecture.

Meanwhile, starting January 2005, all mobile Java applications must pass through SUn Microsystems' Java Verified test for compliance and certification for Java-enabled handsets before apps will be offered for commercial distribution by carriers and handset vendors. Java Verified was launched by Sun, in partnership with mobile carriers and handset makers in February 2004.

Ease of Mobile Apps Portability (JSRs 248/249)

Nokia/Vodafone has already submitted two (2) two JSRs (Java Specification Requests) to the Java Community Process for review.

By using the two newly proposed JSR specs -- JSR 248: Mobile Service Architecture for CLDC and JSR 249: Mobile Service Architecture for CDC, Java devs will be able to create software that is easily portable from one Java-enabled mobile device to another, the group said.

"JSRs 248 and 249 will not introduce any new API specifications but will include a number of new component JSRs and clarifications to existing specifications to define a consistent Java API services architecture. This will enable application compatibility across multi-vendor mobile devices," the group said in a statement. Nokia and Vodafone, along with Sun, will define the licensing framework of the initiative. Sun will also create and license the Technology Compatibility Kits (TCKs) for JSR 248 and 249.

The management framework of the mobile Java services architecture also includes security enhancements. It will support advanced remote platform and application management for enterprises and service providers by enabling delivery and management of software components to mobile devices over-the-air. This is expected to result in cost savings for mobile software maintenance.

Furthermore, it will offer business users and consumers an easy way to have the latest applications and services available on their mobile devices. The application platforms built on these specifications will enable new business opportunities for operators, enterprises, service providers, and device manufacturers.

The objectives and responsibilities of the initiative will be aligned and coordinated with organizations such as the OSGi Alliance, the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA), the Open Mobile Terminal Platform (OMTP) and World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to specify the requirements and the capabilities of the platform. The specifications will also offer smooth backward compatibility with the highly successful MIDP environment.

John Jackson, Senior Analyst, Wireless/Mobile Technologies, The Yankee Group commented, "This initiative extends the foundation of JTWI, taking important steps to align the CLDC and CDC platform specifications and their future evolution under a simplified licensing structure. With the support of leading industry players in the mobile Java value-chain, this initiative should offer greater consistency and continuity to developers and end-users. It's a significant step toward accelerating the development and distribution of more robust mobile applications."

"This initiative will significantly strengthen Java's leading position as the environment for powerful, state-of-the-art mobility solutions for both consumers and enterprises in the era of 3G," said Nokia's CTO Pertti Korhonen, in a statement.

"It provides enterprises and service providers with unparalleled end-to-end management capabilities. In addition, it offers application developers the best and fastest opportunity to leverage their Java-based solutions in volumes and also lets them fully exploit the great performance of Java-enabled smart phones."

For its part, Sun will "develop and deliver the underlying Technology Compatibility Kits and Reference Implementations for these new specifications, according to Sun VP Alan Brenner.

The JSR 248/249 participants have committed to deploy the platform, and make the first reference implementations available next year.

Java Verified -- The Countdown Begins

Meanwhile, Sun's "Java Verified" program for speeding testing and certification of mobile Java apps continues on the move, gaining There will be some 579 million Java-enabled handsets, according to market tracker John Delaney, a mobile analyst with researcher Ovum.

The variety of apps tested and certified by Java Verified include both business and entertainment aps. Among the more business-oriented apps are:

  • Mediabricks AB - Mediabricks Media Viewer is a customizable application for provisioning of branded online media to mobile phones in a user friendly, speedy, rich and live fashion;
  • Mobile Diabetic Inc. - mDiabetic Creator is a mobile diabetes record management and carbohydrate system;
  • ReqWireless - WebViewer delivers a fast HTML Web browser for any Java cell phone;
  • Technology@hand Inc. - Shopping At Hand allows users to keep information about purchases, credit card and bank account names and available credit and balance.

  • Under Java Verified, mobile devs receive a "unified process" for testing and certification, according to Eric Chu, Director of J2ME Business and Marketing, Sun Microsystems. Applications are qualified against a set of industry defined testing criteria at authorized testing houses worldwide, speeding their availability to wireless carriers, Chu added.