client resides on mobile handsets, utilizing the Flash Lite runtime
engine to display full-color images, render high-impact animations and
play audio, all tied together by ActionScript, the powerful Flash
scripting language. The client supports interactivity, enabling
subscribers to easily navigate between channels and select channel
specific preferences such as their location for weather reports or
specific ticker symbols for stock watch lists.
software manages local storage, communicates with the FlashCast server
for background content updates, and ensures the overall security of the
channel distribution system. By caching channel data on the handset,
the client presents an “always on” experience that is easy to explore
and use. Even in areas with weak or no network connectivity, the
subscriber experience with FlashCast is immediate and engaging.
When it was first introduced, Sun Microsystems' Java software for
cellular phones was supposed to let developers write a single program
that could run on any handset.
A half decade later,
Sun's Java for cell phones, called the mobile information device
profile, or MIDP, is used in half the world's 1.4 billion phones for
downloading other bits of software. But writing a program that can run
on any handset still isn't possible.
It's an odd by-product of Java's success in the cell phone market.
Ironing out the details of software such as the MIDP takes time, and
neither the cell phone makers nor service providers have been willing
to wait as they pump out the 700 million or so cell phones sold each
What's new: Sun's
Java for cell phones was supposed to let developers write a single
program that could run on any handset. That's never come to pass.
Bottom line: It's
becoming clear to Sun engineers that the ultimate goal of "write once,
run anywhere" may never be fully realized because the cell phone market
is simply too diverse. Still, Java has helped the industry make
Instead, Nokia, Motorola and other handset makers have built devices using their own fixes for MIDP.
Though that's understandable, since they have to deal with the
immediate needs of the market, their actions have played a major role
in sullying the "write once, run anywhere" promise of MIDP, say Sun
executives and developers of cell phone software. That means that the
extra costs and development time associated with creating multiple
versions of the same software find their way into nearly every corner
of the cell phone industry, from the price of handsets to the price for
downloading a ring tone.
"Fragmentation is the one major roadblock that could mean the
difference between success and failure for developers embracing this
market," Allen Lau, chief technology officer at Tira Wireless, wrote in
an article in the trade publication Java World.
What was billed as an oasis for developers
has turned into quicksand, quipped developers attending Sun's recent
JavaOne confab in San Francisco. None were louder than representatives
of Nokia, which sells about a third of the world's cell phones, nearly
every one with Java inside.
"Defragmentation remains a major issue," Nokia Chief Technology
Officer Pertti Korhonen said during a recent speech to Java developers.
"We need to reduce the fragmentation effect because interoperability is
critical for today's mass market devices. We need to simplify the
standard, and use open, fair and predictable licensing terms for the
Though the cell phone industry has made tremendous strides in the
last two years, it's becoming clear to engineers at Sun that the
ultimate goal of "write once, run anywhere" may never be fully realized
because the cell phone market is simply too diverse, said Eric Chu, a
Sun senior director who played a role in much of the early MIDP
Sun's efforts to end the fragmentation problems have so far come up
short. Just about every year the company has had another way to attack
the problem. The latest attempt involves the Java Verified
program, which was created several months ago to certify cell phone
software and ensure that it runs on different companies' phones.
It's a radical change from past practices, when applications had to
be tested by each handset maker in order to ensure the coding was
bug-free and at a certain quality level. But it's too early to say how
well the new program is working.
Great promise, mixed results
The MIDP standard, based on Java 2 Micro Edition,
or J2ME, was developed collaboratively by Sun and more than 20 cell
phone companies. The goal was to provide the cell phone industry with
astandard for downloading software onto phones, one that would allow a
single version of any application, be it a three-dimensional game or
instant messaging, to work on any phone.
Fragmentation issues surfaced quickly. The initial version of MIDP
had a limited set of built-in features, so if handset makers wanted to,
for instance, add 3D gaming, they had to build their own way of doing
so into the handset. So a 3D game built to run on, say, a handset made
by Motorola, wouldn't operate appropriately on a handset from Nokia.
Meanwhile, hardware makers were busy producing cell phones that were
like snowflakes: No two were alike. Some had huge screens and tiny dial
pads, others just the opposite. Application makers have had to account
for the nuances or risk severely limiting the reach of their products.
Essentially, that means developers have had to do something
different to their software to fit each different phone. Writing
multiple versions of software can mean adding months of additional work
on a program.
"It can take up to nine months to deploy an entertainment
application," said Craig Hayman, vice president of carrier marketing at
IBM. "But that's the duration of a cell phone in this market."
Sun, Nokia and others are still trying to deal with the issue. MIDP
is now on its second version, one that accounts for just about any
feature customers might want on a handset, so there's less of a need
for proprietary software, Chu said.
There's also a movement afoot to standardize the ways in which
different features on phones work together, Chu said. The proposed
standard, known as MSA, or Mobile Service Architecture, is meant as an adjunct to MIDP, according to the handset makers and carriers that support the idea.
But don't expect the problems to go away anytime soon.
"You can look at (MIDP) as a problem, or at the incredible progress
so far," said Jason Guesman, vice president of Seven, a Redwood City,
Calif., wireless messaging specialist that competes with the likes of
Research in Motion and Good Technology. "It's amazing what you can do
now, thanks to Java, with a $99 handset. But write once, run anywhere
感想 經過這幾天的參觀觀察和資料收集.我有一種PC9801的感覺.怎麼說呢,PC9801是一部很早的NEC PC.早在MS/DOS之前的作業系統叫CP/M,當時(1984)在學校內大部分的PC都是CP/M只有兩臺PC9801.當時的PC都是綠色的螢幕.可是那時的PC9801就是彩色的了.那時候就有一種"哇日本電腦好先進的感覺"可是兩三年後MS/DOS出現了越來越多的應用程式開發工具都在MS/DOS上可以使用.但是PC9801還是PC9801.非常美麗但是封閉的系統.最後大家都知道結果了.如果3G手機只想用來打打影像電話或是看看運動新聞那或許日本的封閉模式是走的通的.可是如果要如PC般的享受更多的服務開發更多的商業模式那就需要一個可以讓應用程式開發人員可以開發的平臺.日本人或許認為只要Java就夠了.但是我認為JavaVM太弱了.新一代的硬體已經可以支援MPEG4,H.264,Video Recording,MP3 Playback Recording 的功能何時JavaVM才能Support呢?為何不使用Linux,Symbian,PocketPC之類的 OS 讓開發人員發揮想像力開發新的產品.讓Programmer 或是市場決定使用者要什麼而不是電訊公司決定手機上應該有什麼服務.Docomo或許已經認識到這個問題所以有M1000使用Symbian OS 的手機出現.如果只想把手機看成像Game machien衣樣的把使用者Lockin將會吃很多苦頭因為手機Game寫的再好也不是PSP or NDS.MP3再好也放不下60G的硬碟.
Ring tones, games and music are the three most popular downloads in the
global content marketplace, a trend set to continue with news and
sports also gaining a keen audience in Europe. The market for
downloading video and movie clips also showed promise, with more than
10% of mobile phone users worldwide expecting to download such content
within 12 months. This number rises to 25% in Asia Pacific, with one in
ten also expecting to be downloading full feature films to their
mobiles by this time next year. More ...