Thursday, September 28, 2000
Once there was a guy named Bill Gates, who predicted that the real
money in those newfangled PCs would be in their software, not the physical
Today, many companies are scrambling to make personal wireless
appliances, such as cell phones, PDAs, and pagers. And apparently the industry
has learned its lesson, because the race is on to sell software development
tools for wireless appliances.
First there was Java, the "write once, run anywhere" language from
Sun Microsystems (www.sun.com) that functions
on any platform or operating system. Then Microsoft (www.microsoft.com) released Windows CE,
which didn't run on non-Windows platforms, but was efficient enough to run on
small form-factor electronics.
In June, Microsoft released C# (pronounced C-sharp, for the
non-musicians out there), intended to run on any platform and to challenge Java.
And this month, Motorola countered by releasing an API (applications programming
interface) for Sun's Java2 Platform, Micro Edition (that's J2ME, if you're
looking for a new acronym).
calls the release a Mobile Information Device (MID) Profile, designed to specify
how software applications will interface with those personal appliances, and
thus to create an open standard for the entire wireless industry.
J2ME is designed to enable software developers to create wireless
applications just once, then share them with other small-footprint, wireless
information devices. Motorola predicts it will first use the portable standard
in a wireless handset expected to ship in December. The handset would combine a
digital wireless phone, two-way radio, text pager, Internet access, and e-mail.
And because of J2ME, users will be able to upgrade and add new applications to
their personal devices, Motorola says.