Startup Looks To Overcome Limitations of Java-Based Phones

A startup software vendor is courting mobile developers looking to build rich client applications on low-cost Java-based phone sets.

Boston-based Everypoint today released sample applications and associated source code to give developers a point of reference for building interactive mobile apps typically limited to high-end smartphones. The apps, which include a stock ticker and several games, are intended to show developers how they can program using the company's programming environment, called Nemo.

The company believes there is a large addressable market of 1 billion Java 2 Mobile Edition (J2ME) MIDP 2.x-based mobile phones. "We felt to target those devices, the biggest hurdle was that the Java environment is a very capable environment but it simply has no features for building rich-looking or highly real-time-networked applications," said Allan MacKinnon, Everypoint's president, CTO and founder. "It is simply a tall order for your average developer to actually build and deploy on a large number of devices."

The Nemo platform includes a scripting language that simplifies that, MacKinnon added. Developers can use any type of IDE that supports Java development. Nemo is intended for developers skilled in Java, C/C++, JavaScript, PostScript, LISP/Scheme or Forth. Developers can distribute a 150KB runtime to the device over the air and likewise the applications developed.

The scripting language "gives developers access to all the features that are baked into your phone, such as a camera, location, accelerometers and vector graphics, which is not part of Java," MacKinnon said.

In December, the company released an SDK to private beta, which includes a vector graphics engine, an embedded database that allows push-based synchronization and access to its Nemo Cloud Services, which are hosted on Amazon's EC2. The company's cloud services architecture is built using a real-time replication and synchronization technology it calls RepliSync.

The SDK is free of charge to developers. Applications deployed for enterprise use will cost 10 cents per user. A public beta is scheduled for later this month.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of and news editor of Visual Studio Magazine.