Listening to Sun Microsystems heap accolades on its JavaFX multimedia application technology Wednesday evening almost obscured the fact that JavaFX faces quite a battle in the space against the established Adobe Flash and AJAX platforms and Microsoft's up-and-coming Silverlight platform.
The company spent an hour lauding the JavaFX extension to the Java platform at the JavaOne conference in San Francisco and touting the technology as providing a bridge from the desktop to the mobile device and television. Sun's Eric Klein, vice president of Java marketing, focused primarily on JavaFX for mobile devices during the presentation. Qualcomm "smartbook" technology, serving as a hybrid between a smartphone and a netbook, also was detailed running JavaFX.
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Java on mobile systems has been a hedge against an otherwise down economy, Klein said. "The interesting thing is the Java mobile ecosystem grew solidly last year," he said. There are now 2.6 billion mobile phones deployed with Java, he added.
"JavaFX Mobile delivers rich, expressive user experiences and we know that this is what our customers require these days," Klein said. The new 1.2 release of JavaFX Mobile offers significant performance improvements, a user interface library, and localization.
JavaFX Mobile devices are coming out later this year and in 2010 on carrier networks, Klein said.
Emphasizing use of JavaFX in systems other than mobile phones, Klein and Qualcomm Vice President Rob Chandhok paraded plans for using JavaFX on "smartbook" devices, which offer such capabilities as Internet access and GPS services on a device that is smaller than a traditional laptop. Qualcomm's Snapdragon chipset would be the basis of these systems, which are expected by the end of the year, and on Thursday, Sun and Qualcomm announced an early-access release of Java Platform Standard Edtion 6 ported to the Snapdragon ARM-based processor.
Klein and PayPal Vice President Osama Bedier noted PayPal has a mobile payment application running on JavFX Mobile. "Not only can you build great applications but you can make money from them, too," Bedier said.
Klein also showed the new JavaFX authoring tool, which enables collaboration. "This tool was written in Java," Klein said.
Sun first unveiled the JavaFX project at JavaOne two years ago. There have been more than 400,000 downloads of the JavaFX software development since the release of JavaFX, and JavaFX Mobile, Klein said.
Other mobile efforts from Sun have involved the Phone ME platform and support for technologies such as Lightweight User Interface Toolkit (LWUIT).
"LWUIT allows you to develop these same rich expressive applications that your customers are demanding but targeted at the feature phone market," said Klein.