Wireless Java’s Call to Arms
by Nicki Hayes, July 17, 2002
With wireless Java’s infrastructure now in place, it’s time for handset
manufacturer’s, wireless carriers and the wider market to do away with
indifference and heed the battle cry, reports WDN’s Nicki Hayes.
Come on you wireless warriors. We’ve been too long in exile on Planet Indifference.
So, m-commerce didn’t come pounding out of the starting blocks in a frenzied and
self-sustaining sprint to Planet Profit. But with recent releases from organizations
such as Sun, The Tao Group, NTRU Cryptosystems, and elata, wireless Java could
soon provide the infrastructure we need to get there. So, come on everybody! It’s time
to heed the call to arms and launch the final attack…
OK. So we’ve all heard about wireless Java and how it’s going to power m-commerce
by facilitating the development of sophisticated applications that you can ‘write once
and run anywhere’.
OK. So we’re all still eagerly searching for any scrap of evidence that this is in fact
And let’s face it, on the surface, all does not seem well in the State of Java. Market
penetration of 2.5G mobile phones has been disappointing and while independent
market statistics suggest that deployment of Java-enabled devices reached nearly 15
million units in 2001 and will exceed 100 million in 2002, these devices, to date, have
been beset by technical difficulties and customer indifference.
So, why has this come to be?
Well, for starters, first generation Java mobile technology - consisting of the K virtual
machine (KVM), the compact limited device configuration (CLDC) and the MIDP
libraries - has not delivered adequate performance standards for the type of
applications the market requires. Worse still, Java’s ‘write once run anywhere’
promise has proved elusive because of differences in the tunings of Java for each
Then come several other obstacles: the type of security solutions required by m-
commerce have been too power-hungry, expensive and difficult to implement within
the constrained environment of mobile devices; the operating system upon which Java
sits has been disappointingly slow for mobile devices; carriers have failed to find a
suitable service delivery or billing model; the market has failed to release affordable,
compelling applications or services; wireless networks are inherently latent; and an
uninspiring spirit of indifference seems to have permeated the entire market place - to
name but a few.
But wait! Let’s review our arsenal:
Sun has addressed the weaknesses of its KVM with the release of a new high-
performance virtual machine for embedded devices, officially called CLDC Hotspot
Implementation and code-named Project Monty. It takes techniques from Sun’s
Hotspot performance engine to identify bottlenecks and optimize processing. Hotspot
was the key to Java’s server-side success in the wired world and Sun could well
transfer this to the wireless world when you take into account the additional design
innovations it has included to ensure that the new virtual machine runs 11 times faster
in resource-constrained devices than its predecessor, fits in less than 1 MB and
conserves battery life.
As reported last week, NTRU Cryptosystems’ Neo Java addresses the issue of
affordable and efficient security within the constrained environments of wireless
www.wirelessdevnet.com/channels/wireless/features/newsbyte44.html, and The
Tao Group’s Universal Multimedia Platform, which enables a single, rich content
strategy across all platforms, addresses the issue of a sluggish operating system:
“Our Java engine can demonstrably deliver content many times faster than any
other Sun compliant solution. Nikkei (March 11th), quoting the SAP/Sharp
partnership quoted us as up to 10 times faster for what are non-multimedia
Java applications. But for multimedia applications the difference,
extraordinarily, is much more. Yet what we have is Sun branded and Sun
compliant,” advised Francis Charig, chairman of The Tao Group.
Then there’s elata’s service delivery and subscriber management platform, elata
senses, which addresses the service delivery/ billing model issue by allowing the
delivery of any service, including wireless Java and messaging services, to any
wireless device in an accurate, efficient and carefully-managed way. elata senses can
also deliver very high levels of personalization by enabling intelligent, targeted
marketing and empowering subscribers to tailor their own service packages and
billing arrangements. So, if carriers can get the pricing right, that’s another battle
Together these weapons provide the type of infrastructure the industry has been
waiting for to build affordable and compelling applications Hopefully the delivery of
3G networks will address the network latency issue too, so what’s left?
Well, if we all heed this call to arms, carriers and service providers work out a
sensible pricing policy and we collectively overcome our spirit of indifference, then
there’s little left to stop us from unleashing those long-anticipated revenue streams
and finally make it to Planet Profit. So come on you wireless warriors. This is your
call to arms. Nearly all the battles are won. Let’s get out there and win the war!
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Previous NewsByte... Securing the Future of Wireless Java
About the author:
Nicki Hayes is The Wireless Developer Network's (www.wirelessdevnet.com) European correspondent and the part-time judge part-time jester of its new online debate -
Holding Court. Nicki also takes on freelance writing and corporate communication projects relating to business to business internet and wireless issues and has
contributed editorial to a number of publications including Unstrung.com, Wireless Business & Technology, Guardian Online, Financial Times, Banking &
Financial Training, eAI Journal and Secure Computing.
About the WirelessDevNet (www.wirelessdevnet.com):
The Wireless Developer Network is an on-line community for information technology
professionals interested in mobile computing and communications. Our mission is to assist
developers, strategists, and managers in bridging the gap between today's desktop and
enterprise applications and tomorrow's mobile users communicating via wireless networks.
We are interested in supporting the deployment of these evolving technologies through
high-quality technical information, news, industry coverage, and commentary. This
information is provided within a true on-line community that supports developer/vendor
dialogue through message boards and user-submitted tips, articles, links, and software