Notes from the Java Mobile, Media & Embedded Developer Days
By Christine Dorffi on Jan 21, 2009
January 21, 2009, Wednesday. Sun Microsystems campus, Santa Clara, Caifornia.
These are notes from the presentations I attended at the Java Mobile, Media & Embedded Developer Days (M3DD). For more details, please go to the M3DD website and view the specific presentation's slides.
Sun Microsystems Mobile and Embedded community manager Roger Brinkley and evangelist Terrence Barr briefly welcomed the group to the second developer days, sponsored by Sony Ericsson and Sun Microsystems, then launched into the packed agenda. While the numbers rose and fell during the day, there were some 100 participants at the conference and another 150 participating via the live stream.
Marketing VP Eric Klein and Engineering VP Jeet Kaul gave the keynote speech. Eric stressed that the 2009 keywords for Java are "open" and "expressive." Eric noted that customers today consume and create business and personal content 24x7, across the screens of their life (mobile, desktop, television).
Eric spent some minutes reviewing Sun's "open" history, including the open collaboration around Java for over 12 years, resulting in Java being completely open source. Today's focus is on using Java to create a rich, immersive, expressive platform, so that developers can solve complex customer problems, using multiple data sources. The 6.5 million Java developers worldwide can combine with the 8 million content authors/web developers to grow a vibrant mobile platform. Jeet talked about his focus on streamlining the designer-developer workflow, embracing the native tools used by the community.
Jeet and Eric spoke of two current initiatives to address fragmentation issues: Java ODP and JavaFX. Java On Device Portal (ODP) allows the use of mobile widgets across global mobile devices, while JavaFX is positioned as the unifying technology for rich internet applications (RIA), web, and Java development across all screens (desktop, mobile, television). Eric also talked about Project Hydrazine (aka rocket fuel), which is an initiative to develop internet and operator services.
Florian Tournier, Sun senior product line manager, presented an overview of the Java mobility roadmap. First, the numbers:
- 2.6 billion Java phone base
- 6 billion Java Cards deployed
- 840 million Java-enabled desktops
- 40 million+ Blu-ray and TV devices
Florian stressed Sun's continuing commitment to open source and standards. Open source is exemplified by the regular phoneME releases -- phoneME Feature being the open-source implementation based on CLDC and MIDP, while phoneME Advanced is an open-source implementation of CDC for consumer devices and advanced phones -- and the open-sourcing of the LWUIT interface. LightWeight User Interface Toolkit (LWUIT), a standalone library, creates rich UIs easily for Java apps, which runs on any CLDC 1.1/MIDP 2.0 device. Standards are demonstrated by the Mobile Service Architecture (MSA) platform for Java in wireless, industry initiatives against fragmentation, and popular development/testing tools.
For 2009, Florian foresees the return of the feature (as opposed to smart) phone, with increasingly expressive experiences. He sees more emphasis on the browser, so discussed JSR 290, the mobile browser APIs for Java ME, mobile web servers (such as the Sprint Titan architecture), and Java Card 3. Innovations in Java show up in MSA2/MIDP3 functionality, CDC on phone (Sprint Titan with OSGi), modularization (Java SE first, then Java ME), and testing and tools in the Java ME SDK, with CLDC/CDC and BD-J support.
Phil Bender of CableLabs was the speaker at the next talk I attended. tru2way is Java-based middleware that allows interactivity with the television set, without requiring cable-top boxes. OpenCable project is on java.net, and there will be a developers conference on February 10. CableLabs also has a Visiting Engineer program. Cognizant's visiting engineer did a TeenLocator app, ported from Cognizant's IMS app for mobile, that lets users find a family member's mobile phone and map its location with driving directions.
The new Java TV standard for digital TV in Brazil came next, by Sun's Michael Lagally and Jens Pätzold. Interactive TV (TV plus apps) lets you augment A/V with Java apps, which are synchronized to the A/V content. Brazil has the world's largest dual terrestrial-mobile TV deployment. It has the world's 4th largest TV network (around 80 million viewers a day), so the Brazilian goverment has a standards body (Sistema Brasileiro de Televisao Digital, or SBTVD), which requested Sun to create royalty-free DTV specification. People use television to connect to the internet in Brazil, so it is used for many things as eGovernment apps (such as to obtain a driver's license).
Several lightning talks followed, with each person having 7 minutes to introduce his or her material. Patrick Curran talked about the Java Community Process (JCP). and noted there are 26 active Java ME JSRs. Nokia's Jackson Feijo Filho gave usability testing tips for mobile developers, including a usability checklist. Gail Rahn Frederick talked about multi-modal search in On Device Portals, and Medio Systems' handset-resident mobile search-driven ODP application, requiring JSR 135. SunLabs' Eric Arseneau showed a video on First, which will tie into his Project Squawk presentation on January 22.
Next, Ken Gilmer of Bug Labs talked about mobile Java on the BUG programmable and modular open-source gadget platform, which lets you use electronic building blocks to build personalized hardware devices. The BUG device is a mobile Linux computer in a small metal rectangle, the size of an older clunky mobile phone, with several pluggable modules (e.g., camera, LCD, GPS, and the lovely Von Hippel breakout board). It contains an OSGi runtime on a CDC JVM (Concierge on phoneME) and has an SDK with a virual BUG emulator.