Nokia, RIM Strive For Java Jibing

By Joseph Palenchar On Jun 25 2001 - 6:00am

Nokia and Research In Motion have outlined a timetable for joining Motorola in offering wireless handheld devices that run Java-based applications written for small-screen devices.

Their products will use Sun's Java 2 Micro Edition (J2ME) software language, which also lets users download Java-based applications over the air. J2ME is already available in two Motorola phones deployed by carrier Nextel.

The first Nokia J2ME product in the U.S. will be a QWERTY-keyboard-equipped smartphone, the 9290 Communicator, due in the U.S. in the first half of 2002. It's a 1.9GHz GSM phone similar to the current 9210, which operates in European and Asian GSM bands.

The 9210 will be Nokia's first Java phone when it ships in Europe by the end of June.

Worldwide, Nokia said it wants to ship more than 50 million Java-based phones by the end of 2002 and 100 million by the end of 2003.

Like the 9210, Nokia's 9290 will also incorporate the Symbian OS, so it will be able to run Symbian and Java applications, a spokesman said. Both devices feature a dialing keypad, display, microphone, and speaker on the outside, but the phones open up to reveal a QWERTY keyboard and horizontal color LCD screen.

The 8.5-ounce 9290 will feature Symbian word processing and spreadsheet programs that will also read and edit Microsoft Word and Excel documents. It also features PowerPoint viewer, a WAP browser, and an HTML-based browser. It will not use GPRS packet-data technology for data transfers.

For its part, Research In Motion demonstrated a J2ME-based BlackBerry wireless handheld.

Java will be used on RIM's next-generation big-screen BlackBerry, which will operate on 2.5G GPRS wireless networks for the U.K. It's due to consumer in the summer. At press time, the company hadn't returned calls to say when U.S.-based Java products would be available.

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