SAN FRANCISCO (06/08/2000) - Motorola Inc. will support Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Java technology in virtually all of its wireless products by 2002, allowing developers to create a wide range of Internet-based applications for commerce, entertainment and communications, Motorola's chairman and chief executive officer said today.
Motorola will use Sun's Java 2 Platform, Micro Edition, in phones, pagers and other products still under development, part of an effort to use the power of the Internet to bring new voice and data capabilities to all of its products, Motorola Chairman and CEO Chris Galvin said.
"When people ask me what Motorola is all about these days, I say it's taking the Internet and putting it into your purse, your pocket, your car, your public-safety two-way radio and someday your refrigerator," Galvin said, speaking at Sun's JavaOne show.
The Motorola chief showed a prototype of a new communications device about the size of a playing card that featured a small color screen and a miniature punch-button keyboard. Programs on the device include e-mail, two-way text messaging, a contact database and other information management programs. By plugging in a headset, the device can also be used as a digital wireless phone, a Motorola engineer said.
Motorola hopes to ship the device in Europe by the end of the year and in the U.S. in the first quarter of 2001. It will support the GSM and GPRS communications standards. Eventually, Motorola will add support for Java2ME, allowing developers to create compelling applications, Galvin said.
Judging by demonstrations given here, the applications could include miniaturized versions of computer games, e-commerce and voice and text messaging services. They will make use of emerging technologies like speech and handwriting recognition.
Galvin also showed off a Java-enabled cellular phone developed in collaboration with Sega Enterprises Ltd. that included computer games programmed in Java. The games included a version of Sonic the Hedgehog, which had been retooled to fit into the screen display on the phone.
"How cool is it to see Sonic the Hedgehog on a cellular phone?" Galvin asked, drawing a cheer from the audience of Java developers.
The first Motorola phone to include Java and be able to run games from Sega is expected to go on sale in the U.S. in the first half of 2001, a Sega spokeswoman said earlier this week. The company is prepared to work with other phone makers also, including Nokia Corp. and L.M. Ericsson Telephone Co. Ltd., she said. [See "Motorola, Sega to Announce Java Gaming Cellphone," June 5.]Motorola's commitment to use Java in all of its wireless devices is a significant win for Sun, which is trying to promote its programming language as a de facto standard for writing applications that will run on virtually any computerized device. Java is an important ingredient because it provides the "glue" that allow developers to write programs with the knowledge that they will run on all types of hardware, Galvin said.
If Java gets fragmented, however, "it simply won't work," Galvin warned.
Developing wireless products in the U.S. is tough enough already, he said, given the multitude of wireless communications standards that exist here.
Cellular use is more widespread in Europe and in Japan, in part because those regions adhere to a single, common communications standard.
There are currently around 470 million wireless devices in use the world over, and around 260 million Internet users, according to Motorola. "We see the opportunity to bring these (markets) together and have a billion wireless Internet users in the next two to three years," Galvin said.
"Humans have an absolute, insatiable desire to communicate," he said.
The JavaOne show concludes tomorrow. More information about the show, including Webcasts of this week's keynotes, is on Sun's Java Web site at http://java.sun.com/.
Motorola, in Schaumburg, Illinois, can be reached at +1-847-576-5000 or via the Web at http://www.motorola.com/. Sun, based in Palo Alto, California, can be reached at +1-650-960-1300 or via the Internet at http://www.sun.com/.
(Martyn Williams of IDG News Service contributed to this report)