Oracle Aims Java ME Embedded at the Internet of Things

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2013-07-23

Oracle Aims Java ME Embedded at the Internet of Things

Oracle has announced new releases in its Java Embedded family of products that are aimed at helping Java power machine-to-machine (M2M) environments and the Internet of Things.

At the JavaOne Shanghai 2013 conference, Oracle announced the release of Oracle Java Platform, Micro Edition (Java ME) Embedded 3.3 and Oracle Java ME Software Development Kit (SDK) 3.3, a complete client Java runtime and toolkit optimized for microcontrollers and other resource-constrained devices.

In an interview with eWEEK, Peter Utzschneider, vice president of product management at Oracle, said the new versions of Java Embedded technologies will help simplify application development and open new market opportunities for the M2M and Internet of Things sector.

The Internet of Things refers to a vision of the future where everyday things—such as devices, homes, cities, cars and other items—are infused with intelligence and ubiquitously connected to the Internet.

Oracle officials said the rapid growth of the Internet of Things is driving demand for open and cross-industry platforms that can help customers decrease time to market, manage costs and deliver new capabilities for embedded devices.

Oracle continues to address these challenges with the latest release of Java ME Embedded, which provides strong support for leading embedded chip architectures and new binaries for ARM architecture-based developer boards, including the Raspberry Pi and the Keil STM32 F200 Evaluation Board for ARM Cortex-M processor-based devices.

"For the last two years we've been recasting all the embedded Java technology we got from Sun," Utzschneider said. "Sun was taking Java in a vertical direction in the embedded space, looking mostly at phones and set-top boxes; we're taking it horizontal."

Indeed, Oracle is changing the costs and dynamics of product market entry and life cycle for OEMs, application developers and service providers by providing the Oracle Java ME SDK and related tools at no cost for internal developing and testing purposes.

Java embedded technologies are a key component of Oracle's complete, "device to data center" platform, simplifying the implementation of Internet of Things and M2M solutions. Leveraging Java's cross-platform benefits, Oracle Java ME Embedded implementations enable application portability, increased flexibility of hardware and platform choice, and extended product life cycles.

"Our goal is to make it easy for people to write code and have code portability for very small devices all the way up to very big ones," Utzschneider told eWEEK.

"Oracle is dramatically changing the costs and dynamics of product market entry and life cycle for OEMs, applications developers and services providers," said Nandini Ramani, vice president of Java development at Oracle, in a statement. "With the latest updates to our Java embedded product family, Oracle is continuing to deliver against customer requirements and key values to help drive increased growth and capabilities for connected M2M devices. We are committed to delivering a single, modern Java development platform for our customers that extends from device to data center."

Oracle is also introducing the Oracle Java Platform Integrator program to provide partners with the ability to customize Oracle Java ME Embedded products to reach different device types and market segments. Coupled with the massive Java ecosystem of over 9 million Java developers worldwide, this new program will help enable greater development and deployment flexibility for the Internet of Things, Oracle said.

"As you go smaller and smaller in devices, the fragmentation [for developers] is significant—we feel Java can eliminate some of that fragmentation," Utzschneider said.

The Oracle Java Platform Integrator program provides opportunities for companies developing embedded products on devices to leverage a consistent platform across their choice of hardware and operating systems, allowing customers to reduce the engineering effort required to enable their application and services across multiple platforms.

It also increases their opportunity for added product value and differentiation, and to more rapidly deploy and monetize standard Oracle Java ME Embedded implementations to help them explore new business opportunities. And it reduces time to market and ongoing costs through a preintegrated and optimized Java Embedded stack.

Oracle Aims Java ME Embedded at the Internet of Things

"Time-to-market and cost pressures are already forcing ODMs and OEMs to re-evaluate their solution stack and identify new opportunities for engineering synergies," said Chris Rommel, vice president of M2M & Embedded Technology at VDC Research, in a statement. "However, the edge devices under development today must also be designed to become tomorrow's channels for post-deployment software and service delivery. More than ever, engineering organizations should consider new, integrated development solutions that can both offer an opportunity to focus internal resource investments on application-level differentiation, as well as establish a platform for net new revenue generation."

Oracle Java ME Embedded 3.3 is designed and optimized to meet the unique requirements of small, embedded, low-power devices such as micro-controllers and other resource-constrained hardware without screens or user interfaces.

The release features support for embedded chip architecture from ARMv5 through ARMv7. In addition, Gemalto's Cinterion M2M Modules feature Oracle Java ME Embedded, providing their customers with a cost-effective, flexible platform to help bring advanced and connected M2M technologies to market faster.

"It is essential for us to provide our customers with the technology to open up new business opportunities by creating value and enabling new services quickly and cost effectively," said Axel Hansmann, vice president of strategy and marketing at Gemalto M2M, in a statement. "Oracle Java ME Embedded on Gemalto's Cinterion Java Modules provides what the market is asking for—wireless connectivity and greater intelligence in miniaturized, scalable M2M technology."

Oracle Java ME Embedded binaries and tooling are freely available, for internal development and testing purposes, on the Oracle Technology Network (OTN) for ARM architecture-based developer boards. These include the low-cost and popular Raspberry Pi and the Keil STM32 F200 Evaluation Board for ARM Cortex-M processor-based devices. Support for additional off-the-shelf binaries is planned for future update releases, Utzschneider said.

Moreover, addressing the need for strong communications support in the Internet of Things, Oracle Java ME Embedded 3.3 provides greater connectivity between edge devices and a wide array of network peripherals and systems, along with increased I/O and network monitoring capabilities.

Also, significant improvements for device APIs increase the range and number of external peripherals that can be integrated and addressed by applications built on Oracle Java ME Embedded 3.3. In addition, this release provides runtime monitoring and logging enhancements.

Oracle Java ME SDK 3.3 provides a complete development environment for Oracle Java ME Embedded 3.3. Freely available for download from OTN, the latest version includes new support for Microsoft Windows 7 32-bit and 64-bit, in addition to Microsoft Windows XP 32-bit.

The new release also features Java ME SDK plug-ins for the NetBeans Integrated Development Environment (IDE) and Eclipse, enabling more application development environments for Java ME developers.

In recent related news, Oracle and ARM announced a collaboration to optimize Java for 64-bit ARM-based servers.

ARM, which has worked with Oracle in the past to bring Java and its system-on-a-chip (SoC) architecture closer together, announced July 22 that Oracle will further optimize Java Platform Standard Edition (Java SE) for ARM's current 32-bit designs and add Java SE support to 64-bit ARMv8 platforms.

The agreement is not only aimed at such data center systems as servers and networking systems, but also at M2M environments, including industrial control, factory automation and single-board computers, according to ARM and Oracle officials.

Expanding Oracle's support for ARM's technology will increase the software ecosystem that will be key as ARM looks to bring its low-power system-on-a-chip (SoC) architecture, which now is found in most smartphones and tablets, into the data center, according to Ian Drew, chief marketing officer and executive vice president for business development at ARM.

"The industry has reached a significant inflection point as enterprise infrastructure, including servers and network routers, is now able to leverage high-performance, energy-efficient ARM technology," Drew said in a statement. "This extended relationship with Oracle to enhance Java SE is an important step in growing the ARM ecosystem, which is enabling businesses and consumers worldwide to discover new levels of energy efficiency and advanced performance."


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