"I don’t see any reason why Oracle wouldn't just keep going in the same direction or become more aggressive because this gives them an entree into mobile," said David Adams, founder of Mobile Research. His company maintains and sells a database of mobile phones that developers use to make sure their applications work on different models. Adams is a Java developer and once served on a Java advisory group.
The mobile application environment is starting to shift toward applications that rely on the Web and thus on back-end databases of the kind that Oracle sells, Adams said. That means Oracle has an incentive to continue to support Java in the mobile environment because Java enables mobile Web applications that could spur more sales for Oracle.
While Java has historically been regarded as primarily a technology for feature phones, that might be changing, Adams said. "Java FX is coming down the line," he noted. That's a new Java development environment from Sun that might solve some of the limitations that make the current Java MIDP (Mobile Information Device Profile) less usable on smartphones.
Android's use of Java is also a significant factor, according to Adams. While there's just one Android phone in the U.S. so far, more are expected and there have been murmurs of interest in Android from netbook manufacturers, Adams noted. That keeps Java of interest in the mobile environment.
"I still think Java is the lingua franca for mobile except for the iPhone," Adams said. "I think Oracle just dealt themselves into a really amazing position in mobile."
One thing Adams believes Oracle could do to help developers would be to move mobile Java into a standards-based development process, something others have also advocated. Making that transition would still benefit Oracle because support for Java would still remain strong in a standards environment, he said.