ARM boosts Java apps with new Jazelle RCT

Chip designer Arm Holdings PLC unveiled a new version of its Java acceleration technology Monday that adds support for a wider variety of compilers in order to improve the performance of Java applications on mobile phones and handheld devices.

Jazelle RCT (runtime compiler target), announced at the JavaOne conference in San Francisco, allows Java developers to use just-in-time (JIT) and ahead-of-time (AOT) compilers for mobile applications without the vast amounts of code previously needed to use that technology, said Chris Porthouse, execution environments program manager at Arm.

Compilers translate code written in programming languages such as Java into the machine language that runs a computer's processor. JIT and AOT compilers improve performance by translating the code into machine language as the application runs, or before it runs, respectively. However, this results in "code bloat," a sizable increase in the amount of code that must be stored and a drain on memory resources and battery life, Porthouse said.

Jazelle RCT builds on a previous version of the technology known as Jazelle DBX (direct bytecode execution), Porthouse said. By adding new instructions and modifying other parts of the Jazelle technology, Arm was able to support the higher-performance JIT and AOT compiler technology while minimizing the amount of excess code, he said.

This will allow mobile phone vendors to put more demanding Java applications into their phones without compromising battery life, Porthouse said. Jazelle RCT also supports Microsoft Corp.'s .Net Compact Framework technology, he said.

Arm will make Jazelle RCT available with its Cortex family of processor cores that will be available next year, Porthouse said. Mobile phones with the technology probably won't hit the market until 2007 or 2008, he said.

Arm, based in Cambridge, England, designs processor cores that are used by many of the world's mobile phone and personal digital assistant chip makers. The company does not actually manufacture these cores; it licenses the designs to manufacturers such as Texas Instruments Inc., Intel Corp., and Freescale Semiconductor Inc.

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