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Palm OS backs Java

PalmSource beefs up handhelds with wider programming support

Users of Palm OS-based handheld devices and PDAs should soon be able to access a variety of Java-based applications thanks to developer PalmSource's
partnership with Insignia Solutions.

The companies aim to integrate the Insignia Mobile Foundation (a Java Virtual Machine) with the Palm OS in order to spur Java application development for Palm OS handhelds, said PalmSource chief competitive officer Michael Mace. JVMs run Java applications on any machine as if they had been specifically created for it.

Insignia and PalmSource will make the JVM available to licensees in the next few months, Mace said.

"We've worked with Insignia for some time and feel they have an efficient implementation of Java," Mace said. Palm is also considering other JVMs for Palm OS 5, he said.

"We feel Insignia's product will become the standard for Java on the handheld. That's why we're endorsing it now," Mace said.

The JVM is based on the forthcoming PDA Profile and J2ME (Java 2, Micro Edition) standard. The PDA Profile is a standard set of Java APIs (application programming interfaces) - programming tools use in applications to make requests of an operating system or another application.

Vendors including PalmSource, Sun and Motorola are in late-stage development with PDA Profile, Mace said. The JVM probably won't be shipped until PDA Profile is complete, but could ship without official certification.

By bundling a standard JVM with Palm OS developers can confidently create the "write once, read anywhere" applications that define the Java programming language, Mace said.


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