Deals drive Java technology into new environments
Sun Microsystems formalized its efforts
to drive Java technology
into consumer and embedded applications with the formation of the Java
Consumer Business Alliance Program. This program aims to
coordinate communication between Sun and its partners to help
move Java technology into a wide range of devices. Nine companies have
already joined the program including Applix, Geoworks, Lucent
Technologies, Microtec, Microware, NSI, ObjectSpace, PSW, and Spyglass.
The partners in the alliance will work with device
manufacturers to customize EmbeddedJava or PersonalJava software
solutions and to provide integration services to accelerate the
deployment of Java software products.
Todd Courtois, a senior software engineer at Spyglass, said the Alliance
helps formalize the working relationship between Sun and these other
companies that was already operating on an informal basis. He noted,
"Before, it was vague [figuring out] how to connect with us. Now, when
we need special help, we know who to talk to. The Alliance has made the
relationship much tighter than before."
Some partners have already announced their own programs for
creating Java applications. For example, Spyglass announced the Java
Consulting Practice to work with consumer electronics,
telecommunications, cable, and direct satellite companies that are
incorporating the Java platform in their products. Spyglass is also
working with Sun on Personal WebAccess, a feature-rich browser designed
to run in constrained environments.
The PersonalJava platform also received a major boost from various
licensing deals by Sun and its partners. Earlier this week, Scientific
Atlanta agreed to use PersonalJava in its Explorer 2000 digital set-top
box. This follows a recent announcement by Cable TV giant TCI that it
would use the PersonalJava platform in its set-top boxes. These
announcements will help drive Java technology deep into the North
American Cable TV market. David Kimble, Digital Television Product
Manager at Microware noted, "The cable companies would love to get out
of the business of leasing boxes. Having a standard approach like Java
makes it easier to do that."
Microware announced it was working with Ericsson and Nortel on the
development of Java platform-enabled wireless telephones. These phones
are expected to begin shipping later this year.