Sun Rides with Openwave for Mobile Content

The two companies announced a new agreement under which they will collaborate on the development of future mobile applications and content technologies.

Sun Microsystems and communications software maker Openwave announced a new relationship through which they are teaming to help accelerate development of mobile device applications and content services.

Under the newly signed agreement, the two firms said they will work to help wireless operators and software developers build, customize and distribute new applications and device interfaces for mass-market handsets.

The companies said that to execute on the strategy, they are integrating Suns Java ME (Java Platform and Micro Edition) technologies with Openwaves MIDAS (Mobile Integrated Dynamic Application System), an XML-based applications development environment.

Later this year, the partners will also release an SDK (software development toolkit) that integrates those technologies with Suns NetBeans technology, which is part of its Solaris Enterprise System.

The companies claim the SDK will aid in the creation of integrated development, device emulation, debugging and packaging tools for mobile applications.

Sun officials said that by combining MIDAS and Java ME, developers will have the ability to utilize the standards-based technologies joint capabilities and flexibility to create various applications components, and to integrate those applications elements into a single package.

"What were hoping to do is break down walls between mobile browsers and Java," said Eric Chu, senior director of Suns Client Systems Group.

"We asked ourselves why mobile applications developers should only be able to use one platform or another; we believe that users should be able to run Java applications in the device browsers, allowing them to access more sophisticated applications from the browser."

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In addition to supporting more mobile applications, the companies said that the joint development tools should help developers create new custom programs and user interfaces that allow handset owners to personalize their mobile phones beyond ring tones and traditional applications.

The companies said those tools will allow handset users to select from a variety of styles, themes and graphics on their devices along with other applications such as an integrated music libraries, music stores and music player capabilities.

The firms estimate that each of their respective technologies are already running on over 1 billion mobile devices.

"The ability to create content and services that personalize the user experience on mobile devices is critically important," said Rich Wong, senior vice president of Openwaves Product and Solutions Group. "Operators that offer easily accessible content experiences will likely see a lot less customer churn."

As part of the agreement, Openwave will also join the Worldwide Web Consortiums CDF (Compund Document Formats) working group to provide support for that emerging standard, which relates to mobile Web file formats.

Openwave will also join Suns support of Suns JSR 290 specification, which was launched to promote interoperability between Java technologies and the CDF standard.

For its part, Chu said that Sun, Nokia, Vodafone and other wireless technology makers are also working to finalize specifications for the "next-generation Java mobile platform," which he said will first become available sometime within next four to six weeks.

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