Nokia updates Java support in Series 60

APIs to support secure connections, "push" services

SAN FRANCISCO - Nokia Corp.'s Series 60 software platform for mobile phones now supports MIDP (Mobile Information Device Profile) 2.0, the latest version of a Java profile for mobile devices, the company said Monday.

MIDP 2.0 will let Java applications more effectively take advantage of a phone's resources, such as memory, displays and input methods, said Timo Poikolainen, vice president of marketing in the mobile software group of Nokia, based in Espoo, Finland. It adds harmonized APIs (application programming interfaces) for new mobile phone applications such as multimedia, secure connections and "push" services. Until now developers have been working with MIDP 1.0 and have had to work out their own ways to handle these features.

MIDP 2.0 will help bring the "write once, run anywhere" promise of Java closer to reality, making it easier for Java developers to get their mobile applications on many devices, Poikolainen said.

Series 60 is a software platform, consisting of a user interface and applications, that Nokia built on top of the Symbian operating system. The mobile phone maker uses Series 60 in some of its own high-end phones and also licenses it to other phone makers, including Siemens AG, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., Sendo Ltd. and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd., known for the Panasonic brand name. At JavaOne, which runs Tuesday through Friday in San Francisco, Nokia and Siemens will demonstrate development of a Java application for Series 60.

The new MIDP specification, standardized earlier this year through the Java Community Process (JCP), is designed for the provision of more advanced services on mobile phones. It adds support for HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) and SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) for secure connectivity. It also supports multimedia features such as video and audio players on phones. The new specification also supports additional network capabilities, such as push services by carriers. With a push service, a carrier could start up an application on a customer's phone over the network when it was needed, for example, turning on a stock ticker when stocks reached a certain level, Poikolainen said.

Vendors should be able to come out with phones using the new version of Series 60 with MIDP 2.0 support by the end of this year, Poikolainen said.

Also Monday, Nokia released the Nokia Developer's Suite for J2ME (Java 2 Micro Edition), Version 2.0, which has MIDP 2.0 support. The suite, offered as a free download from Nokia's Web site, lets developers write applications to run on the Java Virtual Machine included in the Series 60 platform.

MIDP 2.0 support is part of a broad Nokia effort, with Series 60 at its core, to seed the market for more mobile applications.

"The first driver for licensing the Series 60 platform is to make sure the market happens," Poikolainen said. Nokia collects fixed licensing charges and fees based on handset volume from the vendors that use Series 60, but revenue is not the main reason for offering Series 60 today, he said.

Copyright © 2003 IDG Communications, Inc.