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
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
. . .
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
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."