Mobile Devices Get a Jolt From Java

By Peter Coffee  |  Posted 2006-05-25 Print this article Print

Analysis: At JavaOne, the technology is touted as effective delivery platform for users on the go.

Emphasizing the role of Java on mobile devices, and the worldwide explosion of wireless connectivity, Sun Microsystems President and CEO Jonathan Schwartz welcomed former Sun President Edward Zander—now CEO of Motorola—to the stage of the opening general session at this months JavaOne conference in San Francisco.

"Mobile broadband is going to change the fundamentals of delivering applications and services," said Zander. "Whats needed is a service delivery platform, and I cant think of a better one than Java."

Schwartz asserted several times during his remarks that Motorolas shipments of mobile phones outnumber the entire PC industrys rate of shipping new machines. Sun Chief Researcher and Science Vice President John Gage concluded the general session on May 16 with a bit of mobile hardware one-upmanship, showing one of a limited number of Developer Edition Jasper handhelds from Group Sense PDA, whose software platform from SavaJe Technologies features anti-aliased fonts and other desktop-class user interface components and behaviors. This raises the bar, said Gage, for the smart-phone form factor.

Click here to read about the Jasper S20 mobile phone. I spoke later that day with Sun Fellow and Vice President James Gosling, original designer of the Java language, about the implications of having this kind of interactive power on handheld devices. He reminded me that he began work on whats now Java about 16 years ago, representing "a lot of turns of the Moores Law crank" in terms of hardware performance growth. But he repeated a concern that hes shared with me in the past—that the delivery of mobile bandwidth in the United States is years behind whats taken for granted in other countries.

Its arguable that testing of the delivery network should take priority over testing of device capabilities, as eWEEK Labs continues to assess the opportunities available to enterprise technology adopters.

Technology Editor Peter Coffee can be reached at

WWWeb Resources

Resources and tools for Java development aimed at mobile, consumer and embedded devices:

Tools and community resources:

The Java language designers observations and comments:

Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on mobile and wireless computing.
Peter Coffee is Director of Platform Research at, where he serves as a liaison with the developer community to define the opportunity and clarify developers' technical requirements on the company's evolving Apex Platform. Peter previously spent 18 years with eWEEK (formerly PC Week), the national news magazine of enterprise technology practice, where he reviewed software development tools and methods and wrote regular columns on emerging technologies and professional community issues.Before he began writing full-time in 1989, Peter spent eleven years in technical and management positions at Exxon and The Aerospace Corporation, including management of the latter company's first desktop computing planning team and applied research in applications of artificial intelligence techniques. He holds an engineering degree from MIT and an MBA from Pepperdine University, he has held teaching appointments in computer science, business analytics and information systems management at Pepperdine, UCLA, and Chapman College.

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