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Sun Updates Mobile Java Platform

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. -- Sun Microsystems announced the availability of the Mobile Services Architecture (MSA), the next generation Java platform for mobile phones and other handheld devices. MSA is available now for mobile devices and Sun's NetBeans development platform.

Sun developed the MSA along with 13 other companies, including operators, OEMs and software vendors. The MSA is the next step in the evolution of Sun's mobile API set, Java Technology for the Wireless Industry (JTWI).

"What we did with JTWI was make a compilation of a number of specs together to create a standard platform developer could count on being in handsets. MSA is the next generation. It supersedes JTWI with much more features and functionality than what we had," John Muhlner, group manager for Java ME product marketing at Sun , told internetnews.com at an event to announce the new platform.

The new APIs  in MSA allow for the creation of mobile applications and services that use 3D graphics, personal information management, Bluetooth, animation, Web services, location services and payment services.

MSA also adds a Wireless Client optimized to support multiple, concurrent wireless applications, the Device Test Suite 2.0 for testing the quality and compliance of APIs to the specs, and the NetBeans Mobility Pack 5.5 for building applications in the NetBeans environment.

Finally, there is the Java Wireless Toolkit 2.5 for Connected Limited Device Configuration (CLDC), a collection of tools for building applications and a wireless platform emulator for testing the applications.

Java ME was severely fragmented for the longest time, and MSA will bring it some unity, said Muhlner. "These platform specs take the specific technologies and clarify or define certain options within the spec. It reduces fragmentation and makes for a more consistent application environment."

Jeff Griffin, MSA Expert Group representative for cell phone maker Sony Ericsson, agreed. "MSA is critical for us in the next phase of making Java more usable in mobile phones. The technology continues to grow, new JSRs are added to the mix. This means imp fragmentation. What umbrella JSRs like this are good is setting a baseline and saying everyone needs to start here," he said.