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Raising interest in J2ME

Posted by gvix on July 13, 2005 at 10:53 PM PDT

Consider these facts:

-- There are 708 million J2ME based phones as compared to 700 million PC based Java deployments.

-- The market for commercial mobile applications is set to reach $1.6 billion by 2008.

-- There will be an estimated 1.0 billion mobile phones in the world by end 2006.

I presented these facts in my Introduction to Mobile Java presentation last night to the Australian Computer Society Special Interest Group. The numbers are awe inspiring. The audience was bewildered when I told them that there is not a single company in Brisbane (Australia) that specializes in developing applications for this market.

The latest Javalobby newsletter bemoans the same fact.

"At JavaOne it was crystal clear that mobile vendors are eager to get more Java developers involved, but the mobile space still seems to be struggling for attention."

So why is it struggling for attention?

First, lack of information. Java developers don't realize that J2ME has grown at a rapid pace and that they can do more with it than they thought possible.

Second, lack of a 'killer' J2ME application. Ok, there are some good ideas in the market, but there is no application that catches the attention of the public.

Third, the respect factor. Developers don't want to be seen working for a technology which is considered too simplistic and which is primarily written to develop games. From developing a J2EE app to J2ME MIDlets is considered a step down. Developers don't realize that they can leverage their knowledge of J2EE to develop server centric J2ME apps.

Fourth, fear of competing technologies. What happens if J2ME doesn't actually catch on? What happens if device manufacturers stop bundling J2ME and other technologies become more prevalent?

It will only take one well thought, commercially successful, mainstream application that will help lift the J2ME market. I am sure that the day is not too far.

Watch this space.

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