I’m writing about this topic based on a request made by Artur Lojewski back in November last year, it has taken me a while to collect my thoughts on this topic as well as find time to sit down and write a posting. Artur attended Eclipse Summit Europe where Dave Thomas (Big Dave) gave a talk entitled “Next Generation Embedded Software – The Imperative is Agility!” and asked what my opinion was.
Unfortunately I didn’t attend that Eclipse Summit Europe, so I didn’t hear what Dave had to say. Talking to some folk that I do know who went – their impression was “Vintage Dave“. I have made reference to this in the past – but I did work for Object Technology International and my university education was heavily influenced by Dave Thomas – myself and my classmates were some of the first to work our way through learning datastructures etc., in Smalltalk. So a lot of my opinions of what Dave says are going to be coloured by my past experience (and his influence on the start of my career).
There are others who are predicting that embedded java is dead, even James Gosling has suggested that J2ME is done. However, if we take a look at embedded Java today – you’ll see that the Blu-ray format is a new niche for this technology. As well, even low cost phones such as the Nokia 2760 support the J2ME profile. This means that as a platform, there are actually billions of devices out there – how is this not success?
Looking at embedded hardware, we’re starting to see more and more capable hardware in the palm of your hand. For example – iPhone is a 400MHz ARM cpu compare this to a hot desktop circa 1998 (PentiumII 400MHz), the very definition of what embedded means is changing. In the near term J2ME will continue to be an expected feature in cell phones, so there is still a market which will continue for several (5?) years. As the smart phone market sorts itself out we’ll see which new (or old) technology rises to the top. It is probably safe to say that J2ME will have an impact on the outcome, but to bet on it as the winner is probably long odds.
Disclaimer: The postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.