Sun, TI team up for Java apps on cell phones

Java pioneer Sun Microsystems Inc. and cell-phone chip maker Texas Instruments Inc. (TI) are joining to make it easier for phone makers and mobile operators to get Java-based applications out to end users, the companies announced Wednesday.

The companies’ initiative to bring together TI chips and Sun software is designed to streamline the development of phones that support Java applications such as games, information services and mobile enterprise applications, the companies said. It will also cut the costs of that work, they said. They expect the work to bear fruit beginning in the second quarter of 2004.

TI will include Sun’s implementation of the Connected Limited Device Configuration (CLDC) standard on its TCS wireless chip sets, saving handset makers the step of working individually with Sun to integrate that software, said Tom Pollard, director of marketing for TI’s chipset business. Java applications access the Sun CLDC software, which Sun calls CLDC HotSpot Implementation (HI), for computation, according to Eric Chu, director of Java 2 Micro Edition (J2ME) Platform Marketing at Sun.

The chip maker also will include Sun’s implementation of Mobile Information Device Profile (MIDP) 2.0, Chu said. MIDP is the application environment that developers use to create the parts of a mobile Java application that end users see, he said.

Phone manufacturers will be able to buy TI’s TCS chipsets with the Sun software built in. In addition, the two companies will offer implementations of CLDC HI and MIDP optimized for TI’s mobile application processors, which it calls its open multimedia applications processor (OMAP) line. These application processors normally ship without such software included, but there will be available versions of CLDC and MIDP that can be implemented on OMAP with relative ease, Pollard said.

TI and Sun also are cooperating on the relationship between phones and the servers that deliver mobile services. The companies plan to validate their Java implementation on the OMAP processors with the Sun Content Delivery Server, ensuring mobile operators will be able to easily provide services to such handsets from the server. Java servers from other vendors also will work with those handsets based on Java standards, Chu said.

The joint initiative will take aim at a wide range of mobile phone technologies, including Global System for Mobile Communications/General Packet Radio Service (GSM/GPRS), Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution (EDGE), code-division multiple access (CDMA) and Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS).

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