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Sun sets roadmap for Java cell phones

[February 11, 2003] - Sun Microsystems recently unveiled the first of a series of roadmaps for future platforms to help vendors develop wireless services for mobile phones. This initiative to develop the Java Technology for the Wireless Industry (JTWI) specifications was prompted by growing demand among mobile phone makers who want a cohesive platform on which to develop Java software.

A number of wireless companies have been working through Sun's Java Community Process (JCP) for the past two years. Collectively, they have developed several wireless handset specifications, including the Connected Limited Device Configuration (CLDC 1.0) and the Mobile Information Device Platform (MIDP 2.0). They have also introduced a number of JCP-defined extensions, such as the Wireless Messaging API and Mobile Media API. Some viewers suggest this smorgasbord may be rich, but daunting.

Sun said the goal is to provide a common programming environment for the development of wireless services. That's the story behind JSR-185. It clarifies how the technologies associated with CLDC and MIDP work together to form a Java runtime environment that enables the deployment of end-to-end solutions on mobile handsets.

The roadmap (JSR-185) was issued to explain how the common platform will evolve as new standards emerge, and to provide developers with an outline of common functionality they can expect in JTWI-compliant devices. It was the first of a series of roadmaps Sun expects to issue at six- and nine-month intervals. The specifications that will fulfill the goals expressed in the roadmap are expected to be finalized in Q2/2003, Sun said in a statement. Sun expects devices that meet this specification to become available in fall 2003.

The JSR-185 Expert Group includes, among others, 4th Pass, Aplix Corp., Matsushita, Motorola, Nokia, NTT DoCoMo, Research in Motion, Samsung, Siemens, Sony, Sprint, Symbian, T-mobile and Vodafone.

The initiative may be viewed as a competitive response to Microsoft's growing influence in the mobile platform sector. The Redmond, Wash.-based software giant has made inroads of late with its PocketPC, Windows CE and SmartPhone platforms.

To read an open letter from the JSR-185 expert group members to the Java community, and the first official version of the JTWI roadmap, visit http://java.sun.com/products/jtwi/

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About the Author

Jack Vaughan is former Editor-at-Large at Application Development Trends magazine.

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