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Java for Palm OS Devices

Posted by billday on July 1, 2003 at 12:41 PM PDT

The first time I saw a Palm V, I thought "I want one". The very next thing I thought was "I want one I can program in Java". Several years worth of developments later, I'm finally going to be able to properly bridge the gap between the two.

While we've been able to
build and deploy Java applications for Palm OS
since the early KVM days,
the J2ME runtime itself has always been a separate Palm executable
(PRC) that you needed to install first before you could use your J2ME apps. While this is no problem for geeks like me, it fails my "Mother Test" (whereby I measure the simplicity and usefulness of new tech by how intuitive it is or isn't to my intelligent, but non-technical, mother). And so we've waited, and waited, and waited for Palm to see the light and include a J2ME runtime built-in to their shipping environment.

Things are about to change for the better: Palm and IBM recently announced that
Palm Tungsten devices will soon ship with an integrated J2ME runtime.
With these devices, you won't have to go through the one time installation of the J2ME MIDP runtime: J2ME apps will soon be first class citizens on many Palm devices.
And given their expected ship dates later this year, one would assume (IBM, correct
me if I'm wrong here) that this runtime will be MIDP 2.0, bringing the latest and greatest Java device APIs to Palm Tungstens everywhere.

At long last, I'll be able to target Java apps at Palm devices
knowing they'll pass my "Mother Test".

In spite of this very encouraging development, however, a key
question remains: When will all Palm devices, much less all
Palm OS
based devices, include a built in Java runtime, not just the Tungstens?
Time will tell, but my gut says very soon:
If they don't, they'll suffer the consequences as
J2ME rolls on
to the tune of millions of Java developers and hundreds of millions
of consumers with Java devices everywhere.

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