Java group releases road map for mobile app development

A Java Community Process group formed last year to develop a clear architecture for wireless Java application development released Thursday its first road map for future development.

Intended to aid developers and manufacturers in planning applications for mobile devices such as phones and PDAs (personal digital assistants), the Java Technology for the Wireless Industry (JTWI) group's road map defines which current and forthcoming technologies should be supported by JTWI-compliant devices. The goal is to tie together an array of standards and APIs (application programming interfaces) into a unified platform for Java-enabled mobile devices.

The group's planned next step is to release before mid-year a specification for fulfilling its road map. A reference implementation and technology compatibility kit are also in the works and scheduled for a second-quarter release. Devices meeting the JTWI specification should begin reaching the market in late 2003, according to the group.

Vendors supporting the JTWI initiative include most of the major mobile phone manufacturers and carriers. Nokia Corp., Motorola Inc., Sprint Corp., Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB, Samsung Corp., NTT DoCoMo Inc., T-Mobile International AG and Vodafone AG are all group participants.

The JTWI plans to update its road map every six to nine months, to expand as needed the mix of technologies included in the platform. This first version lists three mandatory technologies, all developed by Sun Microsystems Inc., which also serves as the JTWI's group leader.

As group leader, Sun plans to administrate bundle licensing of all the technologies covered in the JTWI's specification. Though all the technologies currently included are its own, other vendors, including Nokia, Motorola and PalmSource Inc., have developed other components being considered for future inclusion, according to a Sun representative.

The current road map mandates inclusion of CLDC (Connected Limited Device Configuration) 1.0, which provides basic API services and the mobile Java VM (virtual machine); MIDP (Mobile Information Device Profile) 2.0, another set of core APIs; and WMA (Wireless Messaging API), which enables wireless messaging.

Other technologies being eyed for future use in the platform include specifications for building mobile location-based applications, instant-messaging services and advanced security features.

JTWI's road map is available on the group's Web site, at http://java.sun.com/products/jtwi/.

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