Sun Microsystems and its 15 mobile phone partners have begun shipping a Java technology for wireless devices in an effort to extend the standard into further industries.
Sun claims that the partners - which include Nokia, Siemens, Motorola, One2One and Symbian - are currently developing or deploying Java-based wireless services.
The Mobile Information Device (MID) profile, based on the Java 2 Platform Micro Edition, defines how software applications are designed to interface with mobile phones, pagers and personal digital assistants. The standards-based protocol will work on any device without having to be rewritten for specific makes.
According to Sun, the MID profile allows wireless devices to offer more refined web surfing by introducing better graphics and improved interactive features. For example, personalised stock sites can display graphs and give purchase and/or sell alerts for specific shares.
Soren Jenry Petersen, vice president of strategy and business development at Nokia Mobile Phones, said that the Java programming environment introduces a new dimension to the mobile phone. Users will be able to retrieve and execute Java-based applications over a mobile network using Wap, he added.
Motorola said its first MID profile equipped device, expected in December, will be a wireless handset. The palm-sized device will combine the capabilities of a digital wireless phone, a two-way radio and a text pager, and will feature always-on internet access, two-way email and a wireless modem functionality.
Analysts believe the market for such devices will continue to flourish. "Lower price points coupled with intriguing designs and a host of useful services are propelling the growth of portable PCs, smart handheld devices and handsets," said IDC analyst, Randy Giusto.
Created by more than 20 companies through the Java Community Process, the MID profile is available for download from http://java.sun.com/products.midp.
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