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Is J2ME Still Alive?

Sanjeev Ba
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 31, 2006
Posts: 40

Dear Ranchers,

I completed my J2ME certification a few years back. But have hardly used it at work (I work for mobile handset manufacturing companies).
I get to visit tech exhibitions occassionally and I do see some booths for J2ME tech, but in terms of real world applications, I wonder if J2ME is getting lost in the Android/Meego/iPhone/BADA noise.

Has anyone recently been involved in J2ME deployments (not maintenance)?

Regards,
Sanjeev

Ulf Dittmer
Marshal

Joined: Mar 22, 2005
Posts: 41863
    
  63
I'm not involved in JME work, so I don't know what it looks like from the trenches, but as I see it, JME is dying. MIDP 2.0 does not come close in features to iOS or Android, and MIDP 3.0 is not being adopted (so far at least) in a major way (or at all?). Symbian still supports JME, but that, too, is now on its way out. BlackBerry is the only "hot" platform that supports JME, and even there rumors are flying that some kind of Android play may be forthcoming, at least for the PlayBook. So, I don't think JME has much of a future.


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Travis Berthelot
Greenhorn

Joined: Oct 30, 2004
Posts: 24
I use J2ME for my AllBinary Platform and there are around 1.2 billion devices around that use it. So hardly dead. Just not a lot of money being spent by business for J2ME.
Tim Holloway
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jun 25, 2001
Posts: 16065
    
  21

This may sound a little treasonous, seeing as how I'm the forum moderator, but I think J2ME's day in the sun is past.

J2ME is designed to allow a standard Java platform for systems with minimal hardware. There are still cases where this is important, but one of J2ME's biggest markets was cell phones and PDA's, and these days, even the cheapest of those devices has the kind of processing power and resources that an entire floor of water-chilled mainframe equipment would have required when I started programming.

I won't count J2ME out by any means until I see the press release for the first Android Blackberry, but the real growth is in other areas at the moment. We are rarely all that limited in hardware resources these days, and truthfully, Java's new masters make a lot of people nervous when it comes to "monetized" technologies.


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Travis Berthelot
Greenhorn

Joined: Oct 30, 2004
Posts: 24
Well I have some glorious news for you. Blue-Ray supports J2ME (well almost) and it is selling like wild fire.

So I don't agree with doom and gloom. Maybe I should open source my game development kit to prove the point, but I am still looking for a real funding before I do it.

On another note, I support Android and J2SE as well, but I will never drop J2ME. Although, my 3D support varies by platform.
Tim Holloway
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jun 25, 2001
Posts: 16065
    
  21

Ah, yes. Forgot about Blue-Ray! Since that's a platform that strives to control what users can and cannot do, not only does J2ME save the chip budget for flashier things, the more restrictive nature of J2ME makes it preferable to Android. The same can be said, of course for almost any sort of process controller environment. Just ask the Iranian Atomic Energy Commission.
Travis Berthelot
Greenhorn

Joined: Oct 30, 2004
Posts: 24
Tim Holloway wrote:Ah, yes. Forgot about Blue-Ray! Since that's a platform that strives to control what users can and cannot do, not only does J2ME save the chip budget for flashier things, the more restrictive nature of J2ME makes it preferable to Android. The same can be said, of course for almost any sort of process controller environment. Just ask the Iranian Atomic Energy Commission.


True, but Iran does have the material needed for a bomb.

I would like to say that when I first used J2ME I had some of the same feelings. Now days I just ask people what can't you draw on a Canvas for J2ME that you can for a View in Android or vice versa. You could replace HTML5 or J2SE as well in either order I still have the same answer. What else do you really need? Sure you have sensors and other crap, but that is really device specific and you have optional APIs for that other stuff.
Tim Holloway
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jun 25, 2001
Posts: 16065
    
  21

I had reservations about using Iran as an example, since the point wasn't political. Besides, I think eventually we (USA) and they will be friends again, although we have just enough crazy people on both sides that up to now, every time relations have started to thaw, someone has done something outrageous. Israel, of course, is entitled to their own opinion, although nuclear WMDs even in the hands of friends aren't all that comforting. Besides, just as enemies can become friends, the reverse happens from time to time as well, as both Iran and Iraq illustrate.

The primary difference between Android and J2ME, however, isn't what you can program them to do. It's that Android is basically a complete consumer OS (with a little help from Linux) whereas J2ME is primarily a container for specialized apps. Any OS and external app infrastructure that may exist is entirely up to the implementer. So what makes J2ME strong is its ability to be custom-tailored to provide a minimalistic locked-down system while still having the benefits of Java.
Sanjeev BhimaRao
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 17, 2006
Posts: 71
Thanks. I do agree on the differences between JME and Android.

But, 'minimalistic' and 'locked-down' aren't going to go down well with either customers or even OEMs, in this day and age.
Without OEM support and not so many devices, any platform would slowly move towards irrelevance, as we have seen in the past. (WebOS, Symbian, Meego, LiMo).
Ulf Dittmer
Marshal

Joined: Mar 22, 2005
Posts: 41863
    
  63
Re-reading me first post from a year ago, things have got even worse for JME. The BB PlayBook has indeed a degree of Android compatibility, while the new BB OS is based on QNX and C++, not Java. (Not that that's going to go places, IMO.) And Symbian is dying even faster than previously expected.

As to Blu-Ray, its uptake is a lot slower than predicted, and Apple still doesn't support it. But more importantly, the things one can do with JME on Blu-Ray are rather limited; certainly nothing to base a career on (unless one happens to work at one of the studios that actually create Blu-Ray DVDs).
Walter Gabrielsen Iii
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 09, 2011
Posts: 158
Java ME isn't noticed so much in the news because it lost its new and cool appeal to Android and Apple. Java ME is still there for now in the corner outside the limelight on many phone brands.

I saw an article from January 2012 that seems to say that Android and Java ME market share are neck and neck, with Java ME pulling a small edge against Android, in that month January:

If Android is so hot, why has Java ME overtaken it?
By Philip Elmer-DeWitt January 1, 2012: 8:21 AM ET


By the way, In case anyone missed it, the Mobile Service Architecture Specification (MSA) spec (JSR 248) is the current standard for Java ME, not just MIDP 2.0/CDLC 1.1. Though further work on at least the next versions of those specifications are currently marked inactive on Mobile Service Architecture 2 (on Java Community Process).
 
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