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Java-Induced MIDP 2.0 Debuts

In a show of support for standardizing mobile devices, Sun Microsystems Monday say they have completed the Mobile Information Device Profile (MIDP 2.0) standard.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company worked with some 50 wireless players, including Motorola, Nokia, Vodafone, T-Mobile, AT&T Wireless, Palm, Research in Motion (RIM) and NTT DoCoMo. The standard also includes the final MIDP 2.0 specification, reference implementation, compatibility test suite, and beta version of the J2ME Wireless Toolkit 2.0.

The goal of MIDP is to extend the base collection of Java technologies to support new and enhanced gaming, graphics, video, audio and security. With version 2.0, Sun said manufacturers and service providers could build better user experiences to mobile devices using the Java 2 Platform, Micro Edition (J2ME) platform.

"MIDP 2.0 is an important milestone in the evolution of mobile devices for both consumer-centric content vendors and corporations that are interested in developing and deploying secure end-to-end wireless enterprise services," said Sun Consumer and Mobile Systems Group vice president Alan Brenner. "This will directly translate into new revenue opportunities for industry participants and give further impetus to Java's growth as a de facto standard for wireless data services."

Sun said some of the sample applications that could be introduced with the MIDP 2.0 standard include Karaoke game streaming audio files over a wireless network, multi-player arcade games, a supply chain management (SCM) accessing corporate data over a secure wireless connection and traffic alerts launching a related street navigation application.

Among the changes to the MIDP standard:

  • Enhanced user interface for a wide range of devices with differing screen sizes.
  • Media support for tones, tone sequences and WAV files to MIDP applications using a standard platform.
  • New game support APIs
  • Expanded connectivity support beyond HTTP, such as HTTPS, datagram, sockets, server sockets, and serial port communication, providing applications different way to exchange data with back-end services.
  • A push architecture whereby MIDlets can be registered to be activated when a device receives information from a server. This lets developers add in alerts, messaging and broadcasts using a standard approach in MIDP applications. Mobile applications enhanced by this technology will include news updates, stock trading, online auctions, and real-time messaging.
  • Over-The-Air Provisioning, which is now required as part of the MIDP specification. The spec defines how MIDlet suites are discovered, installed, updated and removed on mobile devices and enables a service provider to identify which MIDlet suites will work on a given device, and obtain status reports from the device following installation, updates or removal.
  • Better security includes support for HTTPS and existing standards such as SSL and WTLS to enable the transmission of encrypted data.

The collaboration on the MIDP specification has spilled over to a separate deal announced Sunday between Sun and China Unicom.

The two companies say they will jointly build an end-to-end Java technology-enabled wireless data infrastructure, based on the Java 2 Platform, Micro Edition (J2ME) platform.

The partnership is expected to impact China Unicom's data services for their 60 million mobile subscribers.

Sun will provide products and consulting services. The companies are expected to have the first Java technology-based applications available to China Unicom subscribers by the first quarter of 2003.