Sun succumbs to Apple envy with Java Store push
I spit my last breath at thee
JavaOne Sun Microsystems' outgoing chief executive Jonathan Schwartz has opened his swansong JavaOne with a parting challenge to Apple's success on mobile.
Introduced by Schwartz, Verizon announced it will also roll out its own store for mobile apps built using Java. Verizon's network has been notoriously closed to third-party applications, but the growing market share of Apple's iPhone and the popularly of Apple's App Store appears to have changed all that.
The iPhone is only available in the US on the network of Verizon rival AT&T. But it's an agreement that's coming to an end in a move that could prove disruptive enough to give AT&T's rivals a fresh crack at the market.
Verizon's store won't use JavaFX,, and it will rely instead on the carrier's favorite - Java Mobile Edition (Java ME). Sun is pushing JavaFX to build apps and interfaces for mobile, PCs, and TVs. Early apps in the Java Store include a Twitter client built in JavaFX.
Lowell McAdam, Verizon's president and chief executive, explained the delay to accepting third-party applications by telling JavaOne the company had been over-protective of its brand and had been building out the network, with the addition of features such as parental controls.
"We've decided to open up our network elements," Lowell said. He said applications would be able to link to device capabilities and network features such as presence. Verizon plans an open developer conference in Silicon Valley on July 27, but the exact location was not given.
Sun is the latest company to succumb to Apple envy, following news that Microsoft is planning a store for Windows-powered mobile devices. Apple has denied access to the iPhone for JavaFX, and Schwartz used his keynote to claim that Java is already available on one of the world's most popular handsets - Research In Motion's BlackBerry - among 2.6m mobile devices.
Appearing with Schwartz, Java father James Gosling said Sun was ready to unveil a preview a year ago but "thought better of it".
Sun is optimistically pitching the JavaStore as a central repository for Java and JavaFX applications for consumer-facing applications. It'll handle developer registration, application submission, content management, provisioning, and transaction settlement.
But a year on, much work remains to be done on the store, and it's unclear whether Sun can hit its planed US roll-out of "this year" and worldwide launch in 2010, especially with Oracle's proposed acquisition hanging over its head and the resulting uncertainty that will create.
Fundamentals such as application submission criteria and payment mechanisms are still being decided and will be based on feedback in the beta process.
Java Store is only available as a public beta to those who sign up, and there was no word from Sun who could participate. Apps must be compatible with Windows XP SP3, Vista Home Premium, Business, Ultimate, or Enterprise and OS X 10.5.
"We need your feedback," Gosling said. ®
Java Store / Java Warehouse
Sun had infrastructure in place to advertise applications and download software with Java applets for some time. I have been wondering when Sun would make this jump.
With all of the work Sun has invested in back-end systems, cloud computing, Java, Identity, and Directories - it would have made sense to make this jump earlier.
Sun has traditionally been a company to develop infrastructure for partners and allow the partners to build those markets while Sun seldom released products into those markets. The historical result - those small partners lost the markets they built when a heavyweight moved into those markets.
Perhaps, Sun is finally preparing to do more vertical product marketing.
Tried to apply to become a beta-tester but it's only open to the U.S.
There are a few places around the Internet to pick up good J2ME apps. A lot of good applications go relatively unnoticed, or at least it seems that way. Having a well-advertised location to pick them up would be nice, especially carrier-supported. It might lead to more and better applications.
Of course, if AT&T ever sponsored GetJar, then it is likely that support for unlocked or non-AT&T phones would end. AT&T actually has a rather nice market place for Java programs, including a few retro-arcade titles like Ms. PacMan and others, but it absolutely refuses to allow you to buy them using a phone which it does not sell. So my K790a and (as of tomorrow) K850i go Pac-Man-less and mobile banking-less as a result.
At least for the later I have a fairly good substitute in Opera Mini using my bank's web site.
Oh, where was I going with this... if marketed properly, advertised properly, stocked properly, and sufficiently open, a good J2ME Store would go over well, I think. Phuq the "Apple envy" stuff -- there have been third party online store fronts to buy Palm, Windows Mobile, and J2ME applications long before the Apple Store (or whatever the flake it is called) came about.
Paris, whatever the flake.