Sun promises Java on iPhone

Sun Microsystems is developing a Java Virtual Machine for Apple's iPhone and plans to release the JVM some time after June, enabling Java applications to run on the device.

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Sun Microsystems is developing a Java Virtual Machine (JVM) for Apple's iPhone, which it plans to release some time after June, enabling Java applications to run on the device.

The JVM is to be based on the Java Micro Edition (ME) version of Java, said Eric Klein, vice president of Java marketing at Sun, after Apple announced its iPhone SDK last week.

Apple had not shown interest in enabling Java to run on the iPhone, but Sun said it would to step in and do the job itself, "now the iPhone is open" as a target platform. The free JVM would be made available via Apple's AppStore marketplace for third-party applications.

"We're going to make sure that the JVM offers the Java applications as much access to the native functionality of the iPhone as possible," Klein said.

Besides Java games, developers could bring over enterprise applications such as ERP (enterprise resource planning) or CRM (customer relationship managment) to the iPhone, said Klein. Apple's iTouch, which features iPhone capabilities minus telephony, also will be supported by the JVM.

"Once our JVM is on the phone, we anticipate that a large number of Java applications would run on the phone," Klein said.

By bringing the JVM to the iPhone, Java capabilities in area such as SSL security could be brought to Apple's platform, said analyst Chris Silva of Forrester Research. "I think going forward, with the SDK, it takes out of Apple's control which applications are 'right' for the iPhone," Silva said.

Future plans could include extending more sophisticated Java Standard Edition (SE) and JavaFX technologies to the iPhone, Klein said. "It's a new platform for us. We might be able to bring additional technologies onto the iPhone and the iTouch."

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