In a deal with Kada Systems Inc., Texas Instruments Inc. is taking steps to bring Java capabilities to low-end phones.
TI will use Kadas ready-made J2ME (Java2 Micro Edition) platform on its TCS2100 chipset for low-end phones that will run on the upcoming GPRS networks, said officials at the Dallas company. J2ME enables users to download Java applications from the Web onto the phone wirelessly.
TI also is working directly with Sun Microsystems Inc. to develop chipsets that will run J2ME on top of high-end phones with complex operating systems. The TCS2100 is a more embedded solution that is easier to develop in volume, officials said.
"Youre moving Java down to a pretty mass-market device, which by definition is less expensive," said Tom Pollard, worldwide director of chipset marketing at TI.
Java phones based on the 2100 should be available in handsets by the third quarter of this year, according to officials.
Pollard said his biggest headache lately has been trying to appease carriers and handset makers, who dont always agree, while also trying to keep costs down.
"It keeps me awake at night," he said. "Sometimes they dont know what they want…Its a fine line between being too customer-driven and staying ahead of the market."
The ability to play MP3 files is the most common request for phone chipsets, he said, and that will be a priority for both low and high-end products.