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Gosling ready to kill-off lame duck J2ME

One Java to rule them all

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James Gosling, godfather of the Java programming language, has expounded on the future of JavaFX Mobile, and it's a future which doesn't feature J2ME at all, as the micro edition is phased out over the next decade or so.

Back in April Sun bought SavaJe, which had pretty much got J2SE (Standard Edition) running on a mobile phone, but couldn't find anyone who wanted such a thing. Now that Sun owns an implementation it's decided everyone else should be giving up on J2ME and be porting J2SE everywhere.

"We're trying to converge everything to the Java SE specification. Cell phones and TV set-top boxes are growing up," said Mr Gosling last week at a cozy get-together with the San-Francisco blogging crowd.

The current problem is that mobile applications written in J2ME are only one rank above the WebApps that the iPhone can run, being very limited in what they can do. Google's decision to release Google Maps as a native Symbian application is typical - the Java version worked great, but couldn't get access to the GPS capability of some Symbian handsets, so Google had to go native.

Clever applications like Nokia's Conversation and ROK Talk need to be integrated into the user experience, which J2ME's sandbox security makes impossible.

Basing the entire phone on Java gets round these problems, but presents many more - the fact that J2SE completely lacks an API for GPS being a prime example. Operators, manufacturers, and resellers all looked at SavaJe, and many were impressed, but none eventually decided the concept was worth deploying.

Within operators the perception is that Java equals games, and it remains to be seen if a new name can change the industry's opinion. ®

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