IBM and Sun are working together on a Java operating system for PDAs and mobile phones.
Phil Hester, vice president and chief technology officer for IBM Personal Systems Group, revealed to PC Week that the operating system would be a follow-on from JavaOS for Business, Sun and IBM's thin-client OS.
Personal JavaOS, as Hester described it, will be a lightweight update to JavaOS for Business and will allow applications to be distributed via the Internet to a range of low specification devices.
Craig Roth, senior research analyst with Metagroup, said Sun and IBM had at least a couple of hurdles to overcome before the market accepted such an operating system.
"There is a lot of competition in this market, not least from Microsoft's Windows CE which (Microsoft) sees as an embedded operating system as well as for PDAs," he said. "The question is whether there is really a need for Java at this level. Once you have pared it down to work on a PDA or cellphone then it probably offers little advantage over other operating systems. It may have some applications in wireless Internet connectivity but I don't think you'll see it used in normal cellphones or PDAs."
IBM UK appeared confused over the existence of Personal JavaOS. Tim Thatcher, marketing manager for Java software at IBM, said Hester was "mistaken" about the operating system. He promised IBM's pervasive computing technology for mobile phones, handhelds and set-top boxes would "play-out" over the next year, but refused to give details on products or technology partners.
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