Feeds

Sharp to beat Palm with Linux, Java – official

That's the plan, anyway...

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Sharp officially launched today its attempt to knock Palm off the top spot in the PDA market and regain its former glory as a leading maker of handheld devices.

While Sharp's marketshare has been all but obliterated in the US and Europe, it remains the leading PDA maker in Japan. However, its standing is being rapidly eroded by Palm and its licensees, and all the PocketPC vendors, including arch-rival Casio. Enough is enough, the company reckons, but how to win back its supporters?

With PocketPC and PalmOS both rejected - not enough differentiation from rival offerings; too high licence fees - the answer is clear: a mix of its own Zaurus operating system, still fairly popular on Sharp's home turf, and Linux for overseas markets.

Java will cement the two, courtesy of British embedded OS developer Tao, which has licensed its Intent Java Technology Edition to Sharp. Intent JTE is a fast, compact hybrid virtual machine/just-in-time compiler optimised for embedded systems. It's also highly portable, reckons Tao, which is why Sharp can get it running quickly on both the Zaurus OS and, later, Linux.

Java provides Sharp with a consistent API for application developers to write to both versions of the new Zaurus PDA. The Linux version will itself form the basis of three different models: a wireless PDA-cum-phone for the European GSM market, and a Palm-style PC accessory and a Sony Clié-style multimedia handheld, both for the US.

Incidentally, Tao's Intent platform also comprises a compact, high performance (according to Tao) multimedia library. Again, it's highly portable, and already runs on Linux. Sharp didn't say so, but the Intent Media Libraries have to be a strong contender as the basis for its multimedia PDA.

Java is important to Sharp because it reckons the basis for Palm's success has been the availability of third-party applications to "make their products more user-friendly", said Yoichi Sakai, general manager of Sharp's telecoms systems group. "We would like to adopt that strategy as well... We hope that Java will be a catalyst for our Zaurus global expansion."

Ultimately, Sharp will roll-out Java across all its communications products, from phones to fax machines to PCs, using it to provide a consistent user interface to all of them. That sounds a bit pie in the sky to us, and indeed, Sharp won't say when all this will happen.

As far as the Zaurus plan goes, its Java implementation, will ship for Zaurus OS PDAs on 4 April. The Linux machines, also going out under the Zaurus brand, will ship next October, according to comments made by Hiroshi Uno, the head of Sharp's mobile systems division, earlier this month.

Uno reckons Java support will allow Sharp to boast over 10,000 applications for its PDA by this time next year, thanks to the 2.5 million Java developers out there. A tad optimistic, we think, and in any case they're more likely to come from all those Linux coders chafing at the bit to get X running on the handheld.

No doubt he hopes that many of them will contribute to the one million unit sales Sharp hopes to achieve by the end of March 2002. ®

Related Stories

Linux to push Palm off PDA pole position - Sharp
Sharp tools up with Linux to fight Palm

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Spies, avert eyes! Tim Berners-Lee demands a UK digital bill of rights
Lobbies tetchy MPs 'to end indiscriminate online surveillance'
Scrapping the Human Rights Act: What about privacy and freedom of expression?
Justice minister's attack to destroy ability to challenge state
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report
Probe expected to say single-digit rate was unlawful
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.