Microsoft, Sun focus on mobile apps development

Mobile application development is receiving a boost from companies such as Microsoft Corp. and Sun Microsystems Inc. this week, and also is getting added support on the Bluetooth wireless platform.

Microsoft this week at the 3GSM World Congress 2003 event in Cannes, France , announced with Orange and Handango that Orange will be the first mobile operator to distribute mobile applications through the Microsoft Mobile2Market program. Orange will use Handango’s application management and provisioning platform, called Handango AMPP, to enable it to use the M2M application cataloguing system and provide Orange SA SPV customers with access to Windows Powered Smartphone applications as they become available, according to Microsoft, Orange, and Handango Inc.

The M2M program assists developers with bringing applications to market by establishing a testing process for wireless applications for the Windows Powered Pocket PC and Smartphone software platforms. Microsoft anticipates that 500 M2M applications will be available by June, for purchase by operators and customers.

Applications anticipated include digital video, audio, and animation sequences, ring tones, screen savers, and games and entertainment.

According to Orange , its M2M implementation will enable customers to upgrade their phones with new applications over the air or via their PCs.

Teleca, a European consulting group, said it has worked with Texas Instruments Inc. to develop a Bluetooth Starter kit, an evaluation and development platform to enable designers to add Bluetooth functionality to a variety of handheld products based on TI’s single-chip Bluetooth solution, the BRF6100. The chip integrates digital RF to reduce power consumption, size, and cost.

Sun Microsystems, looking to boost shipment of commercial applications that deploy Java on mobile devices, plans to ship in June a software test suite for equipment manufacturers and service providers.

Also announced this week at 3GSM, the Java Device Test Suite is intended to boost quality assurance and simplify testing while eliminating the need to manually write quality assurance tests, according to Sun. Multiple test suites can be executed simultaneously, to enable multiple test runs and distribute test execution over multiple devices.

The test suite will validate and verify quality of Java 2 Platform Micro Edition (J2ME) implementations on devices. Tests will cover handsets that adhere to the Connected Limited Device Configuration (CLDC) and Mobile Information Device Profile (MIDP) specifications as well as to the soon-to-be-released standards of the JTWI interface, Sun said. The test suite, for example, will support the security model defined by MIDP 2.0.

Handsets can be tested against more than 5,000 test cases in functionality, stress, performance, and sandbox security.