Java 8 on ARM: Oracle's new shot against Android?

The preview Java 8 release for ARM also supports the little-adopted JavaFX on the very popular mobile chip

Oracle has unveiled a developer preview release of standard Java 8 for the ARM processors that power most mobile devices, including capabilities for the JavaFX rich media platform, in what one analyst sees as a shot across the bow of Google's Android mobile platform.

Java SE (Standard Edition) 8 Developer Preview Release for ARM is intended to get ARM developers testing Java SE 8 before its scheduled release in 2013, said Oracle.com blogger Roger Brinkley.

Forrester Research analyst John Rymer suggests the move is meant to hurt Android, a consequence of Google's Android mobile platform surviving a patent-infringement lawsuit by Oracle earlier this year. "JDK [Java Development Kit] 8 and JavaFX on ARM can be seen as an attempt to create a 'Java standard' alternative to Android for ARM devices," he says.

Rymer dismisses JavaFX as worth developer attention, calling it a technology that never made it big. "JavaFX is a nonstarter because it has no adoption," he says. "JavaFX was conceived by Sun as a portable rich Internet app environment to compete with Adobe Flash/Flex, and later with Microsoft Silverlight as well. The idea was to bring function provided by browser plug-ins into the Java core. Nice idea, but it just never gained adoption. I don't see that changing."

If Oracle wants its Java to compete with Android, it could face a tough road ahead. Developers already have been using their Java skills to develop applications supporting the Dalvik virtual machine running on Android devices. And the chances of an open source implementation of Java showing up on Android via the OpenJDK project are slim.

Still, the mobile device market is only going to grow, so Oracle might as well bet on the horse -- Java -- it already has in its stable to run that race.

This story, "Java 8 on ARM: Oracle's new shot against Android?," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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