Feeds

Motorola speeds open source momentum with Apache

Fighting fragmentation

High performance access to file storage

The biggest obstacle in Java's path to becoming the dominant software architecture for mobile phones has been its fragmentation - both in terms of technical features and the various licensing schemes adopted by its early exponents. The past two years have seen the handset makers and large operators increasingly taking the steering wheel of the mobile Java movement, seeking to create unified platforms and work around the confusion caused by Sun's halfhearted open source approach. Motorola has been the most aggressive in recent months, and making itself the leading light in an industry-wide mobile Java framework would certainly score it major competitive points against arch-rival Nokia, which is equally committed to Java, but has tended to plough its own furrow. Motorola's latest move is to adopt the Apache Software Foundation's open source licensing process in the hope of making this the standard for Java ME, the mobile version of the architecture.

Motorola will build a Java ME (Micro Edition) software stack using the Apache License Version 2.0, claiming this will help unify the market. It also aims to align its future Java ME-based development with Apache’s model of licensing and open governance.

This is the most definitive move yet to take Java ME out of the hands of start-ups and specialists - and sideline Java owner Sun - and put it into the hands of a broadly respected open source movement. Apache makes the Linux-based web server that dominates the internet world, and last summer Nokia promised to bring this technology to the mobile phone. Together with Motorola's decision to choose Apache's particular process for making mobile Java fully open source, this sees Apache hopeful of the same pivotal position in mobile internet that it has in the PC-based web.

“We see industry fragmentation and proprietary software models as an obstacle to unharnessing the full power of innovation in the mobile Java ecosystem,” said Mark VandenBrink, chief platform architect for Motorola’s Mobile Devices unit. “We believe developers, customers, partners and the industry at large will benefit from a new open source model."

A common open source approach adopted across the sector would reduce Java software costs and lower time to market as well as the burden of R&D and testing, creating a larger market and making J2ME viable on all but the most basic phones. This in turn would drive the expansion of multimedia applications - Java's chief use is as the engine and download platform for content-oriented mobile software - to a wider base. Although other content platforms, notably Qualcomm Brew, now support J2ME in recognition of the architecture's almost unstoppable progress, it remains confined mainly to high end and some midrange handset models.

A commonly adopted set of Java features, with a unified process for adding new ones and licensing them at no cost, would be one step towards the ultimate carrier goal of a low-royalty handset, and one that would not need to be subsidized. For the first time, Java ME would come close to the 'write once, run everywhere' promise that has so far failed to be kept in the mobile world.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally
Breakfast in London, lunch in NYC, and your clothes in Peru
Broadband Secretary of SHEEP sensationally quits Cabinet
Maria Miller finally resigns over expenses row
Skype pimps pro-level broadcast service
Playing Cat and Mouse with the media
Beat it, freetards! Dyn to shut down no-cost dynamic DNS next month
... but don't worry, charter members, you're still in 'for life'
EE dismisses DATA-BURNING glitch with Orange Mail app
Bug quietly slurps PAYG credit - yet EE denies it exists
Like Google, Comcast might roll its own mobile voice network
Says anything's possible if regulators approve merger with Time Warner
Turnbull leaves Australia's broadband blackspots in the dark
New Statement of Expectations to NBN Co offers get-out clauses for blackspot builds
Facebook claims 100 MEEELLION active users in India
Who needs China when you've got the next billion in your sights?
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.