Sun and Intel friends for a day

Jintel?

Several gallons of oil must have been poured over the PR works within Sun Microsystems and Intel as a shared Java announcement was produced Monday.

It's rare to see Sun and Intel team on anything, so the words "Java" and "XScale" flashing out from the same release produced a shock. The deal between the companies will see Sun tune a specialized version of its JVM (Java Virtual Machine) for the XScale processors from Intel used in mobile devices such as phones.

Sun has what it calls the Connected Limited Device Configuration (CLDC) HotSpot Implementation, which is a VM built for handsets, pagers and PDAs. Java does not exactly fly, making a more resource friendly JVM useful on these small devices.

Sun will optimize the code for XScale chips and then send it off to device makers. Products using the combined technology are expected in the coming quarter.

On one hand, Sun has given its longtime partner Texas Instruments a weak slap. TI helps build Sun's UltraSPARC chips and leads the device market. Sun, however, needs to cover its bases and is willing to give the deal with Intel a chance even if it causes some discord among friends.

More surprising though is Sun's readiness to stand side-by-side with Intel ahead of this week's JavaOne conference.

The two companies feuded for some time over porting Sun's Solaris operating system onto Intel's Itanium processor. After a war of words, this effort came to a close. These days, Sun and Intel tend to do little more than bash each others' high end processors.

These disagreements must have been put on hold for a moment as gears greased up and begrudging flacks found a point of collaboration. And so Jintel was born. ®

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