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Sun backs Java-on-iPhone 'quick fix'

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Tiny Innaworks has emerged as the temporary savior of a red-faced Sun Microsystems and thousands of developers itching to get their applications running to Apple's iPhone and Touch.

Sun will use next month's JavaOne conference to demonstrate technology from mobile tools specialist Innaworks that converts Java Micro Edition code to run on the iPhone. Innaworks' alcheMo algorithm for the iPhone is in beta, but has been used successfully for Qualcomm's Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless, unveiled in 2001 by the wireless manufacturer to rival Java.

According to Innaworks, founded in 2002, alcheMo for the iPhone "is equivalent" to the software used to put Java ME applications on BREW. Innaworks has outlined its patent-pending technology here. Java ME games are the initial target market.

Sun vice president of Java marketing Eric Klein told Reg Dev the company is highlighting Innaworks for those who want to get their applications on the iPhone "yesterday".

For genuinely native Java on the iPhone, though, you're going to have to wait indefinitely. Klein said Sun's strategy remains unchanged, to have Java run natively on Apple's forbidden device, but the companies are still in discussions. There is no indication when those talks will wrap up, and Klein would not go into details.

In a triumph of enthusiasm over fine-print reading, Sun promised to build a Java Virtual Machine for the iPhone the day after Apple unveiled its SDK last month. The company was subsequently forced to retreat to a JVM "if possible" position once it became clear Apple's EULA forbids non-Apple applications and code from installing or launching on the device.

At this stage its not clear whether Innaworks will also contravene the terms of the EULA.®

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