RealTime IT News

Sun Tunes Java for Intel XScale

SAN FRANCISCO -- Seeing the future in smartphones and other mobile devices, Sun Microsystems Monday said it will tweak its Java platform to run specifically on devices using Intel XScale processors.

Intel already has a less-optimized version of Java on its products. The new contract calls for Sun to license about 60 different versions of its J2ME cross-platform high-level programming language to Intel under Sun's Connected Limited Device Configuration (CLDC) HotSpot Implementation. Sun says it will then deliver the optimized Java Virtual Machines (VM) to mobile device manufacturers for handsets, pagers, and PDAs.

Sun said it should deliver the licenses over to Intel by the end of the quarter. The first round of OEM handsets and other products based on the partnership are expected later this year.

"The Intel and Sun collaboration will allow Sun's optimized Java technology for wireless devices to fully utilize Intel's XScale technology to provide a significant, high-performance platform to mobile device manufacturers," Sun vice president Alan Brenner said in a statement. "Java's momentum in the mobile device market is creating new opportunities for device manufacturers, application developers and wireless operators."

While the two Santa Clara, Calif.-based companies have been bitter rivals when it comes to high-end server processors (SPARC vs. Itanium), they have always had a good relationship in the software department. Hans Geyer, Intel vice president and general manager of the Intel PCA Components Group in Folsom Calif. says both companies had been approached by customers to come up official version of Java on XScale rather than relying on a third-party to develop it.

"Bringing together Intel's XScale technology and Sun's CLDC HotSpot Implementation will enable a new wave of mobile applications and innovation within the mobile device segment," Geyer said. "The popularity and prevalence of the Java platform coupled with the high-performance of Intel XScale technology based processors is a powerful combination that will allow mobile application developers to create a compelling array of exciting applications now and in the future."

Intel's XScale technology is taking off in the form of its PXA255 processor, Intel PXA26x processors, and recently introduced Intel PXA800F cellular processor (aka Manitoba). The chips run at 200-, 300- and 400-MHz and are used by Palm, Dell Computer, Hewlett-Packard, Motorola and Sony Ericsson in their products. Intel said it is sampling next-generation faster XScale chips, which it will optimize to support Sun's Java.

Even though it is prevalent in the mobile community, Java is gaining steep momentum with OEMs. Already, phone giants Motorola and Nokia have licensed the high-level programming language. Sun is boasting it should hit about 100 million mobile phones shipping its J2ME technology by the end of June.