At the Java Developers Conference in San Francisco yesterday, Sun Microsystems Inc and 3Com Corp outlined plans to integrate Sun’s Java technology into the Palm handheld computer, a move designed to strengthen the platform against Microsoft’s growing Windows CE business. The deal should also boost Sun’s presence in the handheld and small device market where […]
At the Java Developers Conference in San Francisco yesterday, Sun Microsystems Inc and 3Com Corp outlined plans to integrate Sun’s Java technology into the Palm handheld computer, a move designed to strengthen the platform against Microsoft’s growing Windows CE business. The deal should also boost Sun’s presence in the handheld and small device market where it has not traditionally been strong. 3Com estimates that there are roughly 17,000 developers writing for the Palm platform. The company has already attempted compact versions of Java for set-top boxes but the software was criticized for being too heavy and clunky for small platforms. A spokesperson for Sun said the new version is only 100 kilobytes of code, less than a fifth of the size of the smallest version to date.
The software, launched at the show, is called the Java 2 Platform micro edition and its key component, K Virtual Machine (KVM) is a cut-down version of Java deliberately written for small-footprint consumer and business products such as handheld computing devices, mobile phones and pagers. With KVM for the Palm Computing platform, software developers will be able to extend Java technology-based applications to the Palm platform, Sun said.
Applications on the way next year will, according to 3Com, enable wireless and wired access to corporate email as well as connecting Palm devices to the internet for Java-based e-commerce and electronic banking. It addition, it also plans intranet data access applications for sales force automation, health care and transportation. Sun is currently tinkering with software from SCO, called Huristics, which determines the device the application is being sent to and dynamically tailors it to fit that device. The second step will see the application fully rewritten for the end device, which will be much slicker and sharper said Peter Claassen, manager of business development at Palm Computing. Claassen agreed that the current limitations on bandwidth availability mean extensions to SAP, PeopleSoft and Baan applications are not practical yet. This is where web- clipping comes in, which is 3Com’s web access technology for accessing email and corporate information. It is a stop gap until bandwidth issues are more civil, Claassen said. However, he expects to see Java technology on handhelds by the middle of next year.
Sun will provide a developer’s release of the KVM to attendees of the JavaOne ’99 conference this week and expects a thousand applications to be developed by the end of the show. In February this year, Sun licensed Palm Computing’s HotSync data synchronization technology which it’s porting to the Java platform to enable data synchronization between Palm Computing devices and applications running on Sun workstations.