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Carriers and handset makers are rallying to make it cheaper and easier to deliver applications on phones using the "official" brand of Java on mobile.

The Unified Test Initiative, an industry group that certifies Java ME applications as safe and reliable, is streamlining its verification program.

From next month, qualifying Java ME developers won't need to certify every single application they produce but instead will see a sample of their apps undergo regular audits.

UTI's so-called Trusted Status program will be unveiled at Oracle's JavaOne in San Francisco, California.

Ahead of that, UTI's canvassing Java ME coders for input on the planned program. Specifically, UTI wants to know what criteria should be used to accept developers, the percentage of apps that should pass to earn the trusted status, and whether apps should be evaluated by type of failure. Deadlines for submissions is September 6. You can read more, here.

The group is looking for 90 per cent first-time pass rate all of the time, with developers losing their status when every application tested falls below the established criteria.

"The goal is to ensure that developers of all sizes are coming to the table prepared -- meaning, that quality is baked-in before they begin the testing process," the spokesperson told The Reg.

The change is intended to increase the number of Java ME apps in play. Currently, all apps must be certified at one of three testing houses, with developers paying a starting price of 75 euros ($92.91) to test and verify a "simple" application - a sharp reduction on the earlier price.

The price cut announce in June was the first change in the UTI's Java ME verification process in the face of the growing popularity of Google's Android, which runs a subset of Java Standard Edition (Java SE).

Another challenge to Java ME has come in the shape of the iPhone, which now stands at 25 per cent of the US smart phone market after just three years. More growth is anticipated as Apple's widely expected to sign a deal putting the iPhone on Verizon's network, unleashing a wave of customers new to the phone or tired of AT&T's spotty network.

"By making the Java Verified accreditation more accessible to developers, the number of Java Verified-approved apps out there should increase," UTI said in a document explaining the changes.

Sun Microsystems used to boast there exists two billion Java handsets running Java ME, while Oracle's launched a patent law suit against Google on Android as Oracle pushes Java ME as the only version of Java for mobile devices. UTI was recently freed from Oracle's control.

UTI's members are AT&T, LG, Motorola, Nokia, Oracle, Orange, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, and Vodafone who between them have seen varying degrees of competitive pressure from Android and Apple, and that have large existing install bases of phones running Java ME. ®

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