JavaSoft is to port JavaOS to the Advanced Risc Machines (ARM) platform, bringing to three the number of platforms supported by the Internet operating system.
The agreement is significant in that it will take JavaOS into new markets.
ARM has a strong presence in the embedded sector where low unit cost and low power consumption are of paramount importance. It doesn't compete with x86 and Sparc, the other two platforms currently supported by JavaOS which are targeted at network computers.
David Spenhoff, director of product marketing at JavaSoft, said the collaboration between the two companies will give OEMs a wider choice of processors for building JavaOS devices. "ARM has considerable experience optimising CPU designs for a range of consumer products," he said.
Amy Porter, European marketing manager at JavaSoft, claimed the deal will enable JavaOS to "get out of the mainstream network computer market and move towards intelligent devices such as smart pagers".
Among the devices covered under the agreement is the StrongARM SA-110 processor, which achieved the highest score in the PenDragon CaffeineMark 2.01 benchmark, an independent performance test for interpreted Java applets.
The StrongARM SA-110, which ARM co-developed with Digital Semiconductor, has been adopted by Wyse for use in its Winterm 4000 series of network computers. Bruce McGeoch, senior vice president of engineering and technology at Wyse, welcomed the tie-up: "The StrongARM provides the highest performance on the market for running JavaOS, making it ideal for our Winterm 4000 machines."
Licensing agreements with chip companies such as ARM will bring in much needed cash to JavaSoft, which is an independent profit centre of Sun Microsystems. Although terms of the agreement were not disclosed, it is likely that JavaSoft will receive a royalty from every ARM device shipped which uses the JavaOS operating system. Because ARM is strong in the mass-consumer electronics market, this latest deal could turn out to be a real boost for JavaSoft.
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