Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Angelina Jolie is my girlfriend

It's interesting to watch the swirl of responses to the announcement of the Open Handset Alliance platform, the culmination of collaboration around Google's 2005 acquisition of Android Inc.

There has been the expected response from Symbian about how Android will never get traction as a mobile phone platform. The rationale that "it's rocket science", and therefore too hard for the alliance, is just nonsense. I've heard that excuse too many times from those who think that means there is therefore no space for innovation and choice.

The other, rather puzzling response was from Sun's Jonathan Schwartz, who congratulated Google on the announcement, and set about aligning Sun's Java implementation, and Netbeans IDE, with the Android platform. I say 'puzzling' because he is apparently assuming that Sun's Java ME community will play a big role on the Android platform. However, Esmertec is a founding member of the Open Handset Alliance, and their 'Jbed' Java VM will be available on the Android platform immediately, including Java ME support.

To be clear, the 'Jbed' VM will be available under a commercial license, it is not being open sourced. And it is not based on JavaFXMobile or phoneME. It seems that Sun's welcoming Android to those communities is an unrequited friendship -- its like me unilaterally announcing that Angelina Jolie and I are now 'an item'.

It remains to be seen whether there will be an open source Java implementation made available for the Android platform that is compatible with it's "commercial-friendly" Apache License terms. I suggest that rather than speculating, the smart money will wait until the early preview becomes available on November 12th.


robilad said...

Afaict, the smart money, i.e. IBM, is not on board of OHA.

And Sun apparently does not have enough silly money to go build one of those things along with Java FX.

tim said...

I agree the alliance has to prove it can deliver a commercially viable platform, and if it does then I'm sure there will be additional investments from a number of people.

If I was to hazard a guess (even though I just cautioned against speculation :-) ), I would expect the story is that Android 'Java' comprises GWT's JavaScript JRE Emulation libraries [see 1, 2]; and people who want to run midlets need to go and get a commercial license for the Esmertec JRE.

robilad said...

Yeah, that would make the most sense, to me, too, as Google does not really need fast JVMs on clients, it needs fast ECMA Script on embedded clients, and that's where there is an interesting 'market niche' atm, afaict.

The idea to have GWT as the device's primary GUI toolkit would be quite amusing, given the grief Apple got for a similar decision, so I guess Google will be smart enough to 'include' a native toolchain in the stack too.

Otoh, it would actually open up a bit of competition around best tooling support for GWT for mobile devices, which I think would be quite useful in general, anyway.