Nokia to Launch Mobile Project With Eclipse

The Eclipse Foundation accepted its first mobile vendor, Nokia , to its board of directors, officials announced Monday.

The Finnish mobile phone manufacturer, which joins the open source Java tools group as a strategic developer member, plans to donate several components of its own developer software tool to launch a mobile Java application project at Eclipse, submitted for approval today.

Nokia will also spearhead the development of mobile Java applications for Mobile Information Device Profile (MIDP) and Connected Device Configuration (CDC) capabilities.

Nokia also plans to move more of its code base into Eclipse later this year.

Although plenty of companies within the mobile industry are already members of Eclipse, such as Symbian, PalmOne, Motorola and Fujitsu, they are working on projects other than advancing J2ME on the Eclipse platform.

According to Mike Milinkovich, Eclipse Foundation executive director, the Nokia project will likely find a home with the organization’s Device Software Development Platform (DSDP) top-level project. He expects the approval process for Nokia’s Mobile Tools for Java project to take roughly 30 days.

“Projects at Eclipse need someone to lead them and having Nokia come on board with both the resources and the presence in the mobility space, I think, is a real coup for Eclipse,” he said.

Nokia is a relatively new proponent of the Eclipse platform, though officials said they’ve been working with Eclipse for several years. In June 2004 the manufacturer first announced its support for the Eclipse IDE with a set of plug-ins for its Nokia Developer’s Suite for J2ME 2.2 and Nokia Mobile Server Services SDK .

“That was from our angle the first step to in a kind of test to see how our customers reacted to our supporting Eclipse,” said Heikki Koivu, a Nokia tools manager. “I think the response from the market has been very good.”

That favorable reaction convinced Nokia officials to look into Eclipse to make its own product offerings more uniform and competitive on the market, he said, which resulted in talks between the two organizations that ultimately led to today’s announcement.

While talking with Eclipse officials in 2004, Nokia also started contributing resources to Eclipse’s Embedded Rich Client Platform (eRCP) project.

Eclipse projects for mobile devices are one of the biggest holes in the organization’s product line. The strength of the organization is its wide variety of tools projects developed mainly around enterprise applications on the J2EE platform.

Software vendors are increasingly donating the source code to core functionality of their proprietary products so it can be further developed in an open source development community. It frees the company from devoting its own resources to enhancing core functionality so developers can focus on competitive features specific to the company’s product.

IBM , which donated the $40 million in code to launch Eclipse in 2001, uses the core functionality from the Eclipse IDE as the foundation for WebSphere Studio.

Earlier this year, Borland re-joined the Eclipse Foundation as a board of director and launched a project based on its Together line of modeling software.

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