Smarter Mobile Java Framework Eyed for 2005

A new push is on for a smarter, less finicky Java mobile architecture -- with the goal of making it easier for Java/J2ME architects and devs to design, deploy, develop and manage mobile apps. See what in the plans from Nokia, Orange, Sony and others of the biggest names in mobile.

Tags: Mobile, Java, Specifications, JSRs, Java/J2ME, Mobile Apps, Devs,

A new push is on for a smarter, less finicky Java mobile architecture -- with the goal of making it easier for Java/J2ME architects and devs to design, deploy, develop and manage mobile apps.

With an eye toward a 2005 launch of a simpler, more flexible mobile framework for Java/J2ME apps, Nokia and Vodafone have submitted two (2) two JSRs (Java Specification Requests) to the Java Community Process. The two JSRs (248 and 249) aim to attack some of the most vexing parts of building J2ME/.Java mobile apps, including:

  • (a) reducing the device-specific nature of J2ME/Java apps, making it easier for devs to write-once/run on multiple devices;

  • (b) improving remote capabilities, with an eye toward providing the ability to support over-the-air "live" management and software upgrades; and

    The work has attracted a group of leading Java/J2ME mobile infrastructure and device makers, including Orange, Siemens, Sony Ericsson and Sun, many of whom may formally join the effort this fall. "The application platforms built on these specifications will enable new business opportunities for operators, enterprises, service providers, and device manufacturers," the group said, especially noting the steps forward for lowering barriers to 3G development.

    Inside the Proposed Mobile JSRs

    One encouraging sign that chances may be quick in coming is that the new JSRs don't look like they will require any heavy-lifting (or heavy modifications) of current Java mobile specs or APIs.

    "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," the group said in a statement.

    "This will enable application compatibility across multi-vendor mobile devices." Nokia and Vodafone, will define the licensing framework of the initiative. Sun will also create and license the Technology Compatibility Kits (TCKs) and a reference implementation for JSR 248 and 249, according to Sun VP Alan Brenner.

    Nokia CTO Pertti Korhonen explained the effort this way: '[This] 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."

    The objectives and responsibilities of the initiative will be aligned and coordinated with existing mobile groups, such as the OSGi Alliance, the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA), the Open Mobile Terminal Platform (OMTP) -- end even the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium). The new Java specs will also be backwards compatible with MIDP.

    At least one analyst is optimistic that the spec changes afoot will finally jumpstart Java/J2ME mobile dev.

    "This initiative extends the foundation of JTWI [Java Technology for the Wireless Industry], taking important steps to align the CLDC [Connected Limited Device Configuration] and CDC [Connected Device Configuration] platform specifications and their future evolution under a simplified licensing structure," said The Yankee Group's senior wireless/mobile analyst John Jackson.

    "With the support of leading industry players in the mobile Java value-chain," Jackson added, "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."