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New Java environment for mobile devices adds HTTP and multimedia support

The Java Community Process has completed its work on the latest version of the Java runtime environment for mobile devices, writes Eric Doyle.

The Mobile Information Device Profile (MIDP) 2.0, combined with the Connected Limited Device Configuration (CLDC), provides the core services for mobile devices, primarily phones. These are packaged as a Java runtime environment and a set of application programming interfaces, which is where MIDP comes in.

MIDP is not intended to be comprehensive but it standardises features that have become accepted as essential functions of a mobile device. For example, streaming video is not supported in MIDP because it has not been around long enough to be widely used.

This does not mean Java mobiles will lack the feature but it will be up to individual organisations to develop their own video extensions. Should these prove popular with users, they will be standardised and included in future releases of MIDP.

MIDP 2.0 adds secure HTTP support, simple multimedia features and push technology to the current MIDP 1.0 implementation.

A key feature is the ability to run games - a growing revenue stream in the mobile market. This also offers the ability to address and manage pixels in groups rather than individually. This not only benefits game programmers but opens the door to animated advertising and information screens, which will require less programming, occupy a smaller space and run faster.

The push technology will reduce data traffic. Rather than having applets stored on the device polling servers to see if an update is available, the servers will be able to push the data to the phones as and when an update becomes available.

The system also supports basic audio for tones and sound files (.wav) to enable personalised ring tones.

The Java Community Process is the development team steering Java. It comprises international Java developers and licensees from numerous companies. The team's remit is to develop and revise Java technology specifications, reference implementations and compatibility kits.

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