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JavaOne 2006

Nokia 5500 SavaJe S20 MIDP 3.0 Comments  4  

The actual big Java news at the show was not any new handsets, but the new "open sourcing" of the next mobile Java version, called both JSR 232 and MIDP 3.0. Nokia, Motorola, and SavaJe all talked about the new Java movement.

Java creator Sun, along with major manufacturers and developers, have all gotten together in a public setting - the "open source" aspect of this endeavor - to determine and approve exactly what will be in this next version of mobile Java. Anyone can submit improvements or feature requests until the spec is locked down, and approved, which is expected to happen this fall. Once MIDP 3.0 is approved, all participating manufacturers have agreed to implement the spec on their phone without any changes. This means that for the first time ever, developers will actually be able to write once, run anywhere. Until now, many manufacturers have added their own special code to their Java engines to accelerate graphics or allow other functionality. With that functionality built into MIDP 3, manufacturers will be able to follow the common standard.

Developers have been requesting that manufacturers do this for ages, but for the most part, no one was really listening to the developers. But developers have become more powerful, and manufacturers don't want a developer to leave support for their phone out of a popular game or application.

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What really has lit a fire under this project is the fact that carriers are now customizing handsets with their own applications, and they don't want to have to develop multiple version of the same application. Since carriers are manufacturers' real customers, the manufacturers are listening.

In addition, carriers are telling manufacturers that if they don't have to test handsets for Java compatibility with their application library, that it will shorten a notoriously long phone testing and approval process. Phones could launch sooner after they are announced. The pressure from both carriers and developers was enough to convince Sun and the manufacturers that something had to be done.

If MIDP 3 is approved this fall as expected, we will most like likely see the first MIDP 3 phones launching in the second half of next year.

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