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Where do market analysts get their figures? When you get a job as an industry or market analyst, do they give you a complimentary calculator that has a single button with a label marked "Random" on the front?

The reason I ask is that I read an article from Reuters a while back in which two analysts announced that there was an industrywide lack of applications and/or developers for smart phones.

So who wrote the 300+ applications currently hosted on midlet.org (a large number of which are admittedly games, but I certainly don't see a huge problem with that, at this relatively early stage)? I wonder if the commercial companies investing in games/app development for J2ME are aware that there is no one writing software for these phones? Perhaps they just have artists drawing little screenshots in a tiny 96x54 pixel box? Or maybe there's a single, rather lonely guy or gal out there being time-shared among all these projects? It's a scary thought because it would mean I'm writing to an audience of one.

In a rather interesting turnaround, while Microsoft may have decided they can do without Java on the desktop, they seem to have ascertained that there's a little too much mind-share in the J2ME world for them to completely ignore it judging by a press release that arrived earlier this month. Insignia Solutions, after announcing a "strategic alliance" with Microsoft back in March (isn't that a bit like Cuba announcing a strategic alliance with the U.S.?), have announced the availability of their Mobile Foundation Software for Microsoft's Smartphone 2002. Mobile Foundation is apparently composed of three parts: a CLDC/MIDP environment, a provisioning toolkit, and an implementation of the Mobile Media API (JSR135).

While I have little interest in what Microsoft is doing in the mobile phone arena, I concede that the world is not one size fits all, and that some people might feel a certain amount of nostalgia and want to experience the blue screen of death on their phones, occasionally.

In all seriousness though, by all reports Microsoft has a rather enormous mountain to climb, considering their competitors, in what is for them a comparatively new market. For the Java world this news can be viewed in a fairly positive light. For J2ME to achieve the ubiquity that we, as developers, need in order to support a flourishing development marketplace, it has to be present on all devices, no matter what their market share. While having a consumer pop into a local mobile phone retailer to buy a new phone and ask for one that runs "those MIDP thingamajigies" is certainly a positive outcome from our point of view, a better result is the consumer who pops into a retailer and finds every phone is MIDP-enabled without having to ask.

Take a global market of 500 million phones and assume all those phones were MIDP-enabled; if a new entrant to the mobile phone industry had only 0.1% market share, that's still 500,000 people. Five hundred thousand is not to be sniffed at, especially if that group is the most likely to purchase your newly developed application.

So, congratulations to Insignia for getting their product onto the MS platform.

.  .  .

In this month's JDJ, Sean Campbell provides an introduction to Web services for devices using the kSoap library, and we also have the final installment in Bill Ray's series on remotely controlling your home's audio system.

Author Bio
Jason R. Briggs is a Java analyst programmer and sometimes architect. He's been officially developing in Java for almost four years, "unofficially for five." [email protected]

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