While Sun vigilantly stormed the ECM gates, competitors Microsoft, Palm and European developer Symbian were strutting for the wireless Internet market.
Well, now Sun's beams are back on mobile, and the long-dormant Internet innovator is bringing some new tricks along with it.Sun's new offering, JavaFX, will leverage the technology it acquired with its purchase of Massachusetts-based SavaJe Technologies, which created an operating system aimed exclusively at smartphones.
The SavaJe offering includes a scripting language that enabled designers to create content that could be distributed through a number of devices like computers, cellphones and set-top boxes without the need for customization.
“There is an epic battle under way to reach the broadest audience possible,” said chief executive Jonathan Schwartz in a recent interview. To demonstrate the intensity of the epic battle, Sun is emphasizing the dynamism of the content JavaFX can distribute - games, video and audio.
The Web into which Sun is reintroducing itself is dominated in great part by Adobe's Flash software and increasingly deluged with a number of open-source tools like AJAX. Microsoft recently joined the fray with its interactive distribution system Silverlight. And in early 2008 Google will introduce its "software stack," a one-stop interactive toolshop for cellular handset makers.
JavaFX will appear under an open-source license, so developers can modify it without cost. However, the company is poised to offer handset carriers and creators commercial licenses on the handset version of the offering, dubbed JavaFX Mobile. One potential licensing client is NTT DoCoMo, a Japanese cell phone operator.
JavaFX will also be marketed to makers automobile dashboards, navigation devices and TV set-top box makers.