O2 and Oracle Java Event

oracle.gifYesterday evening I went to the O2 Litmus/Oracle Java Developer Event. While the event was advertised as "bringing together some of the best and brightest in web and mobile to share their experiences and discuss the rich and relevant tools available today", I was a bit disappointed there were no new announcements or presentations by Oracle with respect to the future of Java ME.

As with the MoMo London event last year, Sun/Oracle weren’t happy about talking of the future, despite the more recent announcements that followed the completion of the acquisition of Sun by Oracle.

Here are a few insights from the event…

  • Fragmentation (of Java) is less of a problem when using it for enterprise applications as the number phone types is limited and usually known
  • Feature phones (i.e. non-smartphones) running Java ME are still the de facto business phone for the majority of employees
  • People’s expectations of Java ME apps, post iPhone, are now much higher

From my point of view I am now seeing very few requirements coming in for Java ME apps. This is despite the fact that the vast majority of programmable phones are still Java ME. Smartphones still have a long way to go to reach the mass market and there are still opportunities for the current (or even new) platforms to take significant market shares.

I sense time is running out and may have already run out for Java ME or its successor. Oracle really needs to ramp up its ‘Java on mobile’ efforts and re-engage developers and handset OEMs if it wants to be part of the new mobile renaissance.