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What is Android vs JavaFX Mobile?

Posted by evanx on November 13, 2007 at 10:45 AM PST

So the "personal computer" platform with its graphics, internet et al, is converging with telephony handsets, and visa versa. It's nice. I'm trying to understand how Android changes the pace of this convergence, and how it's different to JavaFX Mobile.

So JavaFX Mobile is the mobile software stack formerly known as SavaJE. Looking at the spelling, we guess that SavaJE was about JavaSE on mobiles. Its apps are written in Java, including the telephony ones, 'cos it affords full access to the handset's telephony hardware functionality, eg. for making calls, handling SMS'es and what-not.

Maybe JavaME offers relatively limited access to the hardware? Certainly it's not full-blown desktop Java either. Yes please, we want the full JavaSE with Swing on mobile phones already. 'Cos these devices have the CPUs, RAM and display resolutions that our PCs had when Java first started practising its love all across the internets.

Some reading suggests that SavaJE was built on a minimal Linux kernel, and that JavaFX Mobile is a Linux/Java stack. Android is also a Linux/Java stack, so, um, can someone please tell me if Android competes with JavaFX Mobile, and what their differences, similarities and/or respective futures, might be?

Android is opensource, in fact it's Apache-licensed, and uses Apache Harmony's class libraries. (Linux is GPL, as are many of the native libraries in Android's stack, so it clearly isn't entirely Apache-licensed.) Is JavaFX Mobile to be opensourced? If it has to compete with Android, then i guess it will be GPL'ed.

It seems that Android does not put Swing front-and-center at this stage, and maybe that differentiates Android and JavaFX Mobile in their initial incarnations. Will Java developers have to choose between these two mobile platforms, or will handsets support both JavaFX/Swing and Android? That's hard to imagine, given that JavaFX uses OpenJDK and Android uses Apache Harmony, isn't it?

Credits: The image is a print of "Grandpa's Phone" by Hans Oosterban. One quote is inspired by Homer Simpson's "Oh, so they have Internet on computers now!" Another is a Bushism or two in disguise.

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