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Sun, TI Team for Wireless Java Services

Sun Microsystems and Texas Instruments (TI) Thursday said they have teamed up to create Java-based wireless applications for 2.5G and 3G networks.

Santa Clara, Calif.'s Sun and Dallas-based TI have indicated they believe their partnership will spark demand for converged voice and wireless multimedia devices among consumers while simultaneously helping handheld device makers and wireless services providers cut costs of the solutions they provide to the public.

Wireless momentum in the form of 2.5G and 3G have been raved about for the last few years, but the steam has been largely relegated to Asia-Pacific regions and Europe as technology innovators who aim to sell wireless software, devices and services try to spark demand in North America.

Companies such as Sun, Microsoft and IBM have been at the forefront of such developments, along with a number of smaller niche players whose products complement those of the larger vendors. Despite the lukewarm demand in the U.S. and competition from the Windows platform, Sun has persisted in its belief that Java-based applications on a slew of mobile smartphones and handheld PCs will constitute a cash cow.

Sun has recently announced that the shipment of mobile Java devices exceeded the 120 million-unit milestone. Teaming with TI, a leader in chips for wireless products, reinforces its position.

Financial terms of the deal were not revealed, but TI has licensed Sun's Connected Limited Device Configuration HotSpot Implementation (CLDC HI) to be fused with its family of TCS chipsets for GSM/GPRS , EDGE, CDMA and UMTS-enabled handsets and wireless OMAP applications processors.

CLDC HI is a Java virtual machine that is optimized for gadgets like PDAs, set-top boxes and other consumer products and embedded devices. The companies believe this make the creation of Java applications on handsets easier, which will in turn lead to a higher quality consumer experience.

Sun and TI also are working together to provide Mobile Information Device Profile 2.0 (MIDP 2.0), which, when combined with CLDC is the Java runtime environment for devices such as phones and entry-level PDAs, on TI's TCS wireless chipsets and OMAP processors.

The vendors believe this will help device makers craft Java-enabled gadgets in an easier fashion. Sun and TI will also validate the Java implementation on TI's OMAP platform with Sun's Content Delivery Server to make it easier for mobile operators to roll out Java-based mobile data services.

TI expects to offer GPRS chipsets and handset reference designs including Sun's CLDC HI by the second quarter of 2004. MIDP 2.0 that interoperates with CLDC HI on TI's OMAP platform is expected to be available from Sun by the second quarter of 2004.

"Widespread deployment of compelling new applications based on open standards-based platforms will drive consumer demand for 2.5G and 3G wireless handsets and services," said Rick Kornfeld, vice president and general manager of TI's Wireless Chipset Business Unit.

IDC highlighted the value of wireless services in a recent survey. In a recent survey of more than 450 senior decision makers and influencers across North America, the high-tech research group found that improving operational efficiency and productivity are key factors driving corporate investments in wireless and mobile solutions.