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Sun's online Java shop prepping for business?

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OpenWorld 09 Sun Microsystems is expected to take its Apple-like Java Store live next month, following the release of new features in the next few weeks.

The company told this week's OpenWorld conference in San Francisco that we should expect a "major announcement" on the JavaStore next month, which will change the online store's status.

Sun's Store was launched as a free beta program in June at the final JavaOne, with Sun promising a US roll-out by the end of 2009. A worldwide roll-out was promised for next year.

Java client vice president of Sun's client software group Jeet Kaul who spoke of the forthcoming change in status at Oracle's OpenWorld, would not provide further clarification.

Also, it's not clear what future Java Store will have, given Oracle's acquisition of Sun has not closed and the database giant has not publicly said which of Sun's projects or products will get chopped.

Ahead of the status change, Sun will deliver a new look and feel for the Java Store in the next few weeks. Among the changes, the ability to download Java applications from the online shop via category, to search applications and have "featured" applications.

When Sun unveiled Java Store much work remained, including the criteria governing submissions and payment mechanism. Sun promised such features would be settled through the beta program. It's not clear whether these changes will also be included in the coming weeks.

Java Store is the planned front-end to the Java warehouse, a repository where Sun hopes it can convince some six million Java developers to post applications.

Sun wants partners, such as telcos, to then customize their own Java store fronts to the warehouse. Verizon in June announced it will also roll-out its own store for mobile apps built using Java.

Kaul told us at OpenWorld said there'd been "a lot of interest" from carriers, but it doesn't seem like there's been much uptake since June's unveiling. Success for the store will also rest on the number of developers it can lure.

Kaul couldn't provide numbers on applications in the Java Store but said 300 developers are signed in. Also, most apps are for the desktop while the overwhelming majority of mobile apps in the store are for Java Mobile Edition - the carriers preferred choice - not Sun's JavaFX, which the company would rather they use for building rich internet applications on devices. Verizon's June announcement was for a store using Java ME.

Kaul stressed the benefit to carriers is they get access to developers without building out their own ecosystems. "The angle we are approaching is we are going to work towards gathering all the developers and content... they (carriers) are finding once they do their own store the upkeep is very hard. That's the part we are very familiar with," Kaul said.

Separately, The Reg has learned Sun planned Cloud Storage service, unveiled with much fanfare in March, will begin a series of internal beta releases in the next few weeks. ®

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