After what seems like months of waiting (and it probably has been), a color mobile phone (as opposed to a PDA/phone combination) has finally appeared on the British market. With a 101x80 pixel 256-color STN display, an e-mail application, calendar, games, and PC synchronization, it has everything you might want in a mobile...hang on a minute...where's the Java?
The manufacturer of this electronic travesty will remain anonymous. Suffice it to say I have purchased a voodoo doll in the shape of the son of the Viking called Eric and I'm stabbing it with large - blunted - pins every time I feel particularly aggrieved.
Thankfully, Motorola has also released a new phone in the UK - the Accompli 008. Unfortunately, it only has a monochrome screen, but does include unhealthy levels of caffeine. Look for a review of the A008 in a future issue of JDJ. (If you're an American I'm sure you'll be pleased to know Motorola has also released two new phones in the U.S. - the i90c and i80s.)
It has been a busy month in terms of Java and J2ME press releases. Nextel and Motorola have announced programs for the purchase, management, and (wireless) download of applications for their Java-enabled mobile phones. Also Motorola announced the imminent availability of Cybiko games, again for their Java-enabled handsets. For those of you who haven't come across Cybiko before (www.cybiko.com), the company manufactures and markets consumer electronics, and operating system and software products, including a wireless handheld computer (also called Cybiko) aimed at the youth market.
From Compaq came the news that the iPAQ H3800 series Pocket PC will ship with Insignia Solutions' Jeode PersonalJava Virtual Machine. Up until now, users had to download Jeode (reviewed in JDJ, Vol. 6, issue 8) from a Web site after their purchase, so it's exciting to see it available with the shipping unit - removing an obvious impediment to installing Java on the devices. Hopefully we'll see more PDA manufacturers following suit.
Although I haven't seen any official word about it, I came across an excellent site awhile ago for anyone hunting for free MIDlets: http://midlet.org has categories for games, graphics, Internet, business, general utilities, and developer MIDlets. At the moment there are just under 100 applications available for download, and it looks as if a new application is uploaded every couple of days. Well worth a look.
On November 1, Aligo, Inc., announced the first annual Wireless Application Development contest. If you haven't heard about it already, the contest runs until January 15, 2002, and the first prize is $5,000. Entrants must submit an application written in Java or JSP, and deploy it on Aligo's M-1 Mobile Application Server; a panel of judges will select the three best applications. It's worth noting that one of these judges is JDJ's own editor-in-chief Alan Williamson. He is, of course, a thoroughly dodgy character, and I'm sure open to all sorts of bribery; anything from large quantities of money (in small, unmarked bills) to compliments on his hair. Don't be surprised if your generous bribe doesn't affect the outcome of the contest, however. It will undoubtedly go into the refurbishment of his bolt-hole in the Azores.
In this edition of JDJ, we look at Zucotto's Bluetooth SDK, and we review the book Wireless Java: Developing with Java 2, Micro Edition by Jonathan Knudsen. James Caple provides an insight into his experiences building a Palm Pilot-powered robot based upon a Carnegie Mellon University design; for those experiencing a profound sense of déjá vu, James' article provides an interesting alternative to the Lego Mindstorm robot introduced by David Hardin and Mike Frerking back in October (JDJ, Vol. 6, issue 10). In addition, Glen Cordrey presents a treatise on his top 10 limitations in the Mobile Information Device Profile API and discusses some of the alternatives (when they exist).
Jason Briggs works as a Java analyst
programmer in London. He's been officially
developing in Java for three years
- unofficially for just over four.