Waow, what a big year, with several new platforms (AndroÃ¯d, iPhone, JavaFX) , the move of Symbian to OpenSource?
Everybody these days is talking only of OpenOS (which in fact are not so open, but anyway) and the reborn of mobile applications.
So what happens to j2me, which is still the most important technology to deploy applications onhundreds of millions of handsets
The good thing, thanks to the push of these OpenOS is that application are now seen as a viable alternative to browser only, and a viable revenue stream.
But J2me seems to be out of the race. Why:
- Where’s the AppStore? Still none of the MIDP2 handset have a good equivalent of the AppStore, an easy to use discovery and download mechanism. And even worst, once downloaded, the application are usually hidden in one of the numerous sub menus of the phone. And there is NO WAY to create your own AppStore in J2me using standard API.
- MIDP3 is too late: MIDP3 phones, which should have been an answer to many of the MIDP2 lacks (background processing, multitasking, improved UI, etc…) is late. No phone hit yet the market, and even, MIDP3 as a standard is already below the market. MIDP3 is two years too late.
- Why JavaFX? Sun introduced JavaFX trying to compete with Adobe AIR, and Silverlight. Mistake. As I already explained (“JavaFX, the missed opportunity of Sun“), they are not good at this. Why Sun did not invest instead to provide an embeed VM into iPhone for instance?
- Fragmentation: one of the biggest historical issue of J2me. Something that new platform don’t have yet, due to their short life. But when we will have tenth of manufacturers doing AndroÃ¯d phones, I guess that there will be fragmentation too.
So this seems to be a pessimistic article about J2me, especially regarding the fact that I invested so much in this technology (I’ve been in MIDP2 expert group, as well as MIDP3 one). Again, J2me is still the leading technlogy in terms of installed base, but in term of usage and application, the gap is not as big. So the game is quite open, iPhone/AndroÃ¯d deployment will increase this year, and I am sure that others technology will emerge.