Nokia, Vodafone to Drive Mobile Java

Wireless players Nokia and Vodafone
are teaming up to write the next chapter (of code) in the mobile Java story.

The companies said they are working through the Java Community
Process (JCP) in order to simplify mobile Java standards. The goal is to help content and data move from one Java-enabled mobile device to another, without bumping into proprietary standards. The project includes defining next generation mobile Java services architecture specifications.

The initiative builds on the widely adopted Java Technology for the
Wireless Industry (JTWI) specification and takes steps to align the
Connected Device Configuration (CDC) platform and the limited CLDC
specifications under a simplified licensing structure. With
the standards in line, the companies said the changes should improve the
mobile value chain between leading mobile device manufacturers, mobile
operators and IT companies.

The project has the blessing of Java guardian Sun Microsystems ,
which is developing the underlying Technology Compatibility
Kits and Reference Implementations for these new specifications. Sun
acknowledged that it had the vision to create mobile Java standards but not
necessarily the wherewithal to push them forward.

“This is the second pass at tying together these various JSRs that
address mobile Java,” Eric Chu, Sun director of J2ME marketing, told
internetnews.com. “Java has been successful in the mobile market and
we’re excited that Nokia and Vodafone are taking the lead on this project.
Sun has been building communities and all of us will be working on the same
goal.”

The initiative was spawned earlier this month when the J2ME Executive
Committee approved the first Java Specification Requests (JSRs) (248 and
249). Nokia and Vodafone said they would avoid introducing any new API
specifications. Instead they will tie together new component
JSRs and clarifications to existing specifications to define a consistent
Java API services architecture. Chu added that there are nearly 200 mobile
specifications to weed through, but the end result will be a roadmap that
lets manufacturers know things like how many threads their handsets must
support or that it takes a certain amount of memory to run next generation
applications.

“The mobile industry is aware of the need for standardization and a lot
of work has been undertaken towards achieving that aim,” Alan Harper, group
strategy director at Vodafone, said in a statement. “[This will] create an
open and evolving platform roadmap to enable consistent and predictable
implementation on a wide range of mobile devices.”

Orange, Siemens, Sony Ericsson, and
T-Mobile have thrown their support behind the initiative. Several are
expected to join the cause and become members of the Expert Group.

“With the support of leading industry players in the mobile Java
value-chain, this initiative should offer greater consistency and continuity
to developers and end-users,” John Jackson, a senior analyst with the Yankee
Group said. “It’s a significant step toward accelerating the development and
distribution of more robust mobile applications.”

Whatever the team comes up with, everyone agrees that it must be aligned
and coordinated with the various wireless organizations such as the OSGi
Alliance, the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA), the Open Mobile Terminal Platform
(OMTP) and World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The specifications are expected
to offer smooth backward compatibility with the highly successful MIDP
environment.

News Around the Web