Railroads and Java: History Repeats Itself

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News: Railroads and Java: History Repeats Itself

  1. Railroads and Java: History Repeats Itself (27 messages)

    "It was vicious fighting about standards that slowed the growth of the first railroads 200 years ago. Back then the issue was gauges. The wireless industry is more complicated than railroads ever were, so it is a major boon that every major carrier in east Asia and Europe - the two most advanced wireless regions in the world - uses Java."

    Alan Brenner discusses the mobile Java landscape, comparing it to The Old Days (a la Pat Helland in his Metropolis series).

    Read Railroads and Java: History Repeats Itself

    Threaded Messages (27)

  2. Railroads and Java: History Repeats Itself[ Go to top ]

    Hmm, wishful thinking from Sun methinks. The dominant OS on mobile devices is a firefight between Symbian, Java, PocketPC and Brew. The applications on native OS are currently more powerful than the J2ME ones. Just because a mobile device is shipped as Java enabled does'nt mean the applications will be Java by default.
  3. Couldn't agree more[ Go to top ]

    Hmm, wishful thinking from Sun methinks. The dominant OS on mobile devices is a firefight between Symbian, Java, PocketPC and Brew. The applications on native OS are currently more powerful than the J2ME ones. Just because a mobile device is shipped as Java enabled does'nt mean the applications will be Java by default.
    This comment says it all. On top of that the awkward integration of MIDP (2) with mobile devices, its poor speed, startup behavior and memory consumption make it ill suited for the mass market.

    It may still be nice for corporate applications though and it is far easier to develop using Java than, say Symbian C++, not because of the language, but because the development environments....
  4. RE: Couldn't agree more[ Go to top ]

    I would respectfully disagree. I'm writing 3 tier apps (tunneling over http header) that functions just fine on a Nokia 6800 and it only supports midp 1.0. I see no slow startup time or massive memory consumption, but I guess that's a relative metric. Having said that it may not be the best platform for games or other real-time operations.
  5. RE: Couldn't agree more[ Go to top ]

    I would respectfully disagree. I'm writing 3 tier apps (tunneling over http header) that functions just fine on a Nokia 6800 and it only supports midp 1.0. I see no slow startup time or massive memory consumption, but I guess that's a relative metric. Having said that it may not be the best platform for games or other real-time operations.
    Depends what you want to do, of course. Startup times are still large compared to native applications. I used MIDP 1.0 to write several demos and programs and I constantly hit the wall because it is just using to much memory - not runtime consumption as much as application size.

    Nokias mainstream phones were (are?) limited to a miserable 32 or 64 kB application size which precluded any productivity gains because you could not mix and match libraries. Obfuscation and bytecode optimization could take you through part of it, of course, but there is a natural limit somewhere....

    And of course prior to Midp 2.0 shipping installations was a nightmare in its own right if you can't run a call center to help your average user install the stuff on there phones.
  6. Err, not exactly..[ Go to top ]

    I have developed a few applications with BREW and I can say that it's definitely NOT faster than Java. Most of the really slow operations with Java are implemented using native code anyway (e.g. image drawing, resource loading, etc.)

    The startup time of Java and BREW app is comparable, the memory consumption is not a problem on the phones I work with (KDDI, DoCoMo and Vodafone/J-Phone.) The only problem is the package size. There are multiple techniques to deal with it, but ultimately the code becomes fugly and you just can't employ sound design and OO practices (each class and each not-inlined method poses considerable size overhead.) That said, the new phones are more than adequate, but if you choose to target them, you limit the market of your application.

    The 3D stuff is just fine with Java, since it's implemented by native code.

    On the other hand BREW is very cumbersome API, requiring you as developer to take care of all error conditions (the API is defined in C, thus there's no exceptions mechanism.) The good thing is that C++ allows you to write very efficient code and with the time we have developed pretty good framework, but even now, a BREW app is ~2 times slower to write than Java. And not to mention the memory leaks, stale pointers, failed MALLOC's and etc. When a BREW app crashes, most of the time you have to reset the phone. If it is your personal phone, there's a good chance that your personal info (contacts, bookmarks) is corrupted, and so on and so on...

    I'm not to say that BREW is a bad API. It's pretty simple, consisted, kind of low level, but that's a matter of preference.

    Final difference is the approach to the comunity. With BREW, you can't upload applications on the phone unless it is debug enapled by the telecom provider or Quallcom themselves. You have to pay $400 for Verisign certificate in order to subscribe to their developer network and get the tools for uploading to the phone. Also you have to give at least $1500 more for ARM compiler, since GCC generates much larger code. And finally you have to submit your application to the BREW Testing Labs, which costs ~$1000 per try. When your application is certified, the users can download it only from the telecom's website (while with java I can publish my own applis).

    All this ammounts that for persons and small companies Java is much better, not because of the techicalties, but because it's affordable, it gets the job done faster and it works just fine for the 99% of the applications you would write.

    (still, since KDDI signed with Qualcomm and now are phasing out Java, some of us have no choice...)

    -- dimitar
  7. Couldn't agree more[ Go to top ]

    This comment says it all. On top of that the awkward integration of MIDP (2) with mobile devices, its poor speed, startup behavior and memory consumption make it ill suited for the mass market. It may still be nice for corporate applications though and it is far easier to develop using Java than, say Symbian C++, not because of the language, but because the development environments....
    Karl, I'm Not sure what type of 'mass market applications' we're talking about here. I would like to see the possible J2ME apps in three categories:

    1. Simple utility programs, examples - take any palm3.x-like applications. I
    don't think you J2ME loses any grounds here... It may take couple of seconds more to load, but when we talk about the mass-market applications, the most important you'd look for is the customer base you can target. You can develop a great desktop game for the Pocket PC would you see the 'mass' business? I'm sure you'll port it 3 more platforms. That's where Java comes. Look at the MIDP. I've seen the MIDP/CLDC implemented on the phones where no symbian/BREW/PPC is there (Siemens SL45i). For the end user, what matters is getting the application first, everything else would come next.

    2. Gaming applications. I thought this is where Java would get the maximum benefit. People are going to download new games every other day, play it for a while and delete it, and download a new one. This means, if you're a developer, every month you'll have 3 new games, to be ported to 20 available phones.. Imagine your life without Java... I can't. And again, I can go to my user saying that your Symbian game is very fast - superb performance, but the J2ME guys will get 3 games and month, and you'll get one every 2 months.. If my user is really game-savvy - he is going to buy a new J2ME phone for himself.

    3. Enterprise applications. I guess, I don't need to say anything here. You already agree that Java would be good here. (However, the fun part is, I believe that native apps are better here, as you neither change the apps nor change the supported phones/platforms that frequently. Also, typically these apps are distributed in a limited-controlled group.)

    Peace.
    Viral
  8. If MS can do it then way to go Sun[ Go to top ]

    Hey Sun is finally learning M$ trick bundle it with the OS and then claim everyone uses it (IE, MSN,.....)
    Hmm, wishful thinking from Sun methinks. The dominant OS on mobile devices is a firefight between Symbian, Java, PocketPC and Brew. The applications on native OS are currently more powerful than the J2ME ones. Just because a mobile device is shipped as Java enabled does'nt mean the applications will be Java by default.
  9. Railroads and Java: History Repeats Itself[ Go to top ]

    I disagree Paul, I think Sun is pretty much in pole position here. If you compare the number of Symbian, Java, PPC and Brew devices out there in the hands of people, Java enabled devices outnumbers all of them, and there's something on Sun's side that nobody elses has, a working and pervasive distribution model.

    Today, you can buy J2ME games via many Web sites, WAP sites, by Sending an SMS, or even dialling a phone number, almost anywhere in the world!!

    Non, and I mean none, of either Symbian, PPC and Brew can rival this.

    This war will not be won by pure technical merits (J2ME, by the way has a few technical merits over the rest) alone. By ensuring that application developers are able to get their apps to the hands of many people easily, and get paid for it, the war is almost won by Sun.
  10. "the war is almost won by Sun"

    Is that so. As I understand Sun used more than half the time at the last Sun-One conference harping on Java for mobile devices andeven of how much money that could be earned from ring-tones! :)

    At the same time:

    Oliver Lauer:
    "Just at this moment M$ is overtaking another important market - PDA wit Pocket PC. How long will it take the mobile market to be completely dominated by M$..?"
    $16 million in venture capital to Dexterra Inc

    Motorola, Intel and three venture capital firms have invested $16 million in Dexterra Inc., a Bothell company whose software runs on wireless devices.

    Unlike some competitors, Dexterra's software is completely built around Microsoft's .NET technology. "We bet the company on Microsoft," said Loughan. "And you know what? It was a damn good decision."

    When Dexterra was formed, Loughan considered building the company around Java, a competing programming language pioneered by Sun Microsystems. One of Dexterra's main competitors -- Arlington, Va.-based Telispark took that path, said Loughan. Telispark was sold to Infowave Software for $8 million earlier this year.

    "I am raising $16 million and they are selling for $8 million," said Loughan. "In my opinion, they made the wrong platform choice."

    http://www.sys-con.com/story/?storyid=44577&DE=1
    http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/business/169933_dexterra21.html
    Less than half will primarily use traditional PCs in 2006
    http://www.windowsfordevices.com/news/NS7915782149.html

    Regards
    Rolf Tollerud
  11. Hi Rolf,

    I believe the context of this discussion was about mobile phones rather than PDAs.

    MS won the PDA war against Palm years ago when Palm persisted in running the PDAs on vastly slower processors and on much less memory. Palm did make some amends but it was a case of too little too late. Palm lost their pole position easily without MS having to resort to any kind of the rough play we tend to associate them with.

    As there is a deeply entrenched and pervasive distribution channel for native applications in the PDA market, Java will have a hard time cracking this market. No doubt about it.

    MS, however, haven't got a decent foothold in the mobile phone market yet, and if they want to be the platform of choice, then they will have to break the distribution channel stronghold that J2ME has.

    You'll need to find me some mobile carriers that sells you games or software that runs on MS phones with any kind of volumne for me to be convinced that MS stands any kind of a chance in the mobile phone market.
  12. ring-tones and games is for kids[ Go to top ]

    Hi Ryan,

    "I believe the context of this discussion was about mobile phones rather than PDAs"

    Ok, but the point is that there was not so long ago since the opinion against MS in the PDA market was as condescending as the opinion against MS Smartphones is now.

    But the term PDA is disappearing and the combination of PDA and Phone will be called a phone ("High-level phone).

    Enterprise Software is our business. "Less than half will primarily use traditional PCs in 2006" (see link above). Thin-clients and Rich-clients on high-level phones is what is interesting not ring-tones and games, and MS need only to shift their current PDA software to the new phones.

    Regards
    Rolf Tollerud
  13. Better to Bet the Farm on M$[ Go to top ]

    Clearly this Java thing is just a passing fad for those who are resisting assimilation.

    If we all would only sell out to M$, the resulting homonogy will make our lives so much better.

    Who needs competition, I want integration!!!
  14. needed for balance[ Go to top ]

    Contrary to common believes I do not think I am always right!

    But if you extrapolate the views normally vented here in TSS with mine something approximately like the truth will emerge.
  15. needed for balance[ Go to top ]

    something approximately like the truth
    Isn't that one of the definitions of FUD? :)
  16. ring-tones and games is for kids[ Go to top ]

    Hi Rolf,

    I think that the business model for the mobile phone market is dramatically different to the business model of PDA's. In the PDA market you only have to market and sell a PDA to your end customers. They only have to use it is in their normal work, without any dependencies on other companies or technologies. That's why it was easy for Microsoft to enter the market, just convince the device manufacurer to choose their platform.
    In the mobile phone market you have at least one more dominant player, the operator. It controls the network and the phone. Today the phone manufacturer sells the phone to the operator who sells it to you. The main reason for an operator to sell your phone is that it is attractive to the customer and that it leverages the investment in network capacity. That's why SonyEricsson among others has succeeded in the GSM market in recent years. They sell attractive camera phones which allows the user to take and send pictures which increases the data traffic in the network. For Micosoft to enter this market it needs not only convince the manufacturer to create phones based on their technology, it needs to convince the operator. Since the operator is very interested in technology that drives data traffic, the current position for Java and J2ME is very strong. The developer community of J2ME is much greater than the developer community for Microsoft phone-edition, thus leading the operator to choose Java. The bigger developer community leads to more applications which (hopefully) leads to more data traffic. This might of course change in the future depending on how well Sun and its partners handles Java and J2ME. It is in this context I believe you should look at the partnership between Sun, Vodafone and Nokia that was released some weeks ago.

    Just my 2c

    Erik
  17. ring-tones and games is for kids[ Go to top ]

    Hi Rolf,I think that the business model for the mobile phone market is dramatically different to the business model of PDA's.
    I agree. For example, an operator might be interested in Microsoft phones in the marketing sense but they are not willing to share the revenue with Microsoft what comes to services.

    On the other hand, the phone itself is not a commodity, nor does it have standard dimensions or features. I do not think phone manufacturers let themselves to be commodized either - that would be the worst possible outcome for them. I think the competition is healthy and there is plenty of pie to share for all the phone manufacturers so that they are not weakened enough to surrender to Microsoft. On the other hand the competition is tight enough, so that that there is no room for extra margins for Microsoft to make any money there. The OS must be next to free, and since Symbian for example is in the hands of major phone manufacturers, there is even less room to make any conquests.

    Also, like I said in my previous post. The users are not generally the same users as PDA users. I also find PDAs of limited use due to their size, and they generally fail to offer a good user experience - richness helps squat. The fact of the matter is that, PDAs need the phone features more than the phones need PDAs.
  18. ring-tones and games is for kids[ Go to top ]

    "Today the phone manufacturer sells the phone to the operator who sells it to you"

    I have never bought my phone from any operator! Anyhow I think the operator has no other choise than to sell the most popular phones.

    "Since the operator is very interested in technology that drives data traffic, the current position for Java and J2ME is very strong"

    .NET Mobile-based Pocket PC Phone Edition drives data traffic just as much as Java and J2ME.

    "The developer community of J2ME is much greater than the developer community for Microsoft phone-edition"

    Maybe if you include ring-tones and games, certainly not if we are talking about enterprise software.

    "partnership between Sun, Vodafone and Nokia"

    My confidence in Nokia is zero at the moment. The bought Symbian, their market share took a big hit and they have chosen confrontation instead of cooperation with Microsoft. (They call it hubris :) My guess is that Nokia will melt away altogether..

    Regards
    Rolf Tollerud
  19. ring-tones and games is for kids[ Go to top ]

    I have never bought my phone from any operator! Anyhow I think the operator has no other choise than to sell the most popular phones.
    You just did not know you did. Your local and trusted mobile phone reseller is most likely owned by an operator.

    In North America, the mobile phone vendors deal directly with the operators. But you could say the same about Europe as well - it is just more obscure.
    My confidence in Nokia is zero at the moment. The bought Symbian, their market share took a big hit and they have chosen confrontation instead of cooperation with Microsoft. (They call it hubris :) My guess is that Nokia will melt away altogether..
    We all hail Microsoft as the great saviour of Ericsson, and the knights say, Ni!
  20. Is Amazon owed by some operator too?[ Go to top ]

    Sorry, I don't believe that the operators can defy the laws of a capitalistic market.

    Neither do I believe in Ericsson any more than Nokia. Both companies success depended only of the rather special situation in their countries when they started. (phone state monopoly, homogenous population) that wouldn't stand the light of any anti-trust-monopoly investigation.

    Ultimately it is the tiger-economies, Taiwan, South-Korea and China + US that will prevail.

    Regards
    Rolf Tollerud
  21. Is Amazon owed by some operator too?[ Go to top ]

    Both companies success depended only of the rather special situation in their countries when they started. (phone state monopoly, homogenous population) that wouldn't stand the light of any anti-trust-monopoly investigation.Ultimately it is the tiger-economies, Taiwan, South-Korea and China + US that will prevail.RegardsRolf Tollerud
    Well, one could argue that "state monopoly" can be easily applied to a company like Motorola as well, that is heavily subsidised by the department of defence. And a company like Ericsson makes most of its business not on Mobile Phones (long merged with Sony, a company from a former "tiger" economy") but on its telco infrastructure. Currently, there seem to be not too many competitors in the aforementioned tiger economies, as companies like Siemens, Ericsson, Marconi (from the former tiger state of italy) are constantly reporting orders from east asia :-). I think in the end, the vital law of markets requires inoovation which is where the phone companies fail me constantly. If innovation is down to including the digital camera in your phone and enabling download of music, or paying for viewing trailers more than for renting the DVDs - well I wouldn't bet the future of the econonmy on it....
  22. Motorola too![ Go to top ]

    "Motorola is heavily subsidised by the department of defence"
    Am I not to have any illusions left.

    Please.. :(
  23. ring-tones and games is for kids[ Go to top ]

    Thin-clients and Rich-clients on high-level phones is what is interesting not ring-tones and games, and MS need only to shift their current PDA software to the new phones.RegardsRolf Tollerud
    They might be interesting to you, but not for the people who drive and dictate the dominance of the mobile phone market - the regular joes.
  24. Pasteur, Koch and the Tao[ Go to top ]

    Fortunately,

     The wireless companies - Verizon, et al. - have smelled the MS infection; and, they want no part of the leviathan who would usurp their revenues.

     But, keep the Java community informed.

     Like the Tao Te Ching says :

    Be aware of the white all around you;
    But rememb'ring the black that is there,
    You shall be to the world like a tester,
    Whom the Virtue eternal, unerring,
    Redirects to the infinite past.
  25. Pasteur, Koch, Semmelweis and Tao[ Go to top ]

    "they want no part of the leviathan who would usurp their revenues"

    No, they want their own OS so they can keep the prices up to 2-3 times more than otherwise.

    "But, keep the Java community informed."

    Of course. Tao Te Ching also says :

    He who has attained enlightenment
    is not concerned with making friends,
    nor with making enemies;
    with good or harm, with praise or blame.
    Such detachments is the highest state of man.

    Regards
    Rolf Tollerud
  26. P.S.[ Go to top ]

    Do you know that Sun wants to take out a large Java tax on all Symbian phones?
  27. P.P.S[ Go to top ]

    Russell, do you have any ideas for stopping the Borg of Redmond?
    http://www.russellbeattie.com/notebook/1004334.html
  28. Loosing real world perspective[ Go to top ]

    Hm, so if we get this wrong our mobile phones may collide or fall of the rails and cause death and distruction?

    This seems to ring a bell with some Microsoft big wig comparing the motor industry to software production, he was a bit of an idiot a rich idiot, but an idiot nonetheless.