Sunday, May 26, 2024

Pervasive Computing in the Palm of Your Hand

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IBM plans to show off its commitment to Java-based pervasive computing at
this week’s JavaOne
in San Francisco by unveiling Palm as
well as two other leading device manufacturers as its newest partners for
the Websphere Micro Environment (WME), a
Java-powered embedded runtime environment.

On Tuesday, IBM plans to announce that Palm and QNX
Software Systems, a telematics that developed the Neutrino operating
platform, will integrate IBM’s WME middleware
with enterprise applications. In addition, Nokia will
integrate IBM’s Websphere tools for developers to create enterprise
applications can be extended to its handsets.

The move comes at a time of re-emerging interest in handheld computing,
as evidenced by the favorable market reaction to last week’s stunning
between long-time rivals Palm and Handspring. At the time of the
announcement, those handheld companies projected the compound annual growth
rate for wireless devices at 23 percent through 2006.

But while the consumer-driven demand is still a bit of an enigma, growth
from the enterprise side of the business will likely depend greatly on the
ability to connect into back-end systems to support vital applications like
messaging or remote data accessing for enterprise customers looking to
automate their salesforce or mobilize their workforce.

“So what we’re really focused on is delivering software to help customers
deal with the fact that technologies and the network will change,” said Joe
DaMassa, vice president of marketing at IBM’s Pervasive Computing division.

Thanks to the “write-once-and-run-anywhere” capabilities of the Java
specification, WME can interoperate with IBM’s DB2e, MQe and Lotus Sametime
to help provide ready access to database, portals, messaging and instant
messaging capabilities.

“What we want to avoid is customers implementing silo systems,” DaMassa
told during a recent telephone interview.

Of the three newest Websphere partners, Palm is showing the deepest
commitment. Palm Solutions plans to incorporate and ship WME with its Palm
Tungsten handheld devices including the Tungsten C and W models, running
PalmOS 4.1, 5.2 and above. To help developers build wireless applications
more easily on Palm devices, IBM and Palm plan to collaborate to expand the
functionality of IBM’s WebSphere Studio Device Developer tools.

As DeMassa explained, the deeper relationship is evidence that both Palm
and IBM share a common vision of not only bringing java-compatibility to
wireless devices but also to building out a new ecosystem that offers a
value proposition for both companies. Those sentiments were echoed by Palm

“Now we have a complete ecosystem from the J2EE server to
the handheld device,” said Chris Morgan, director of Startegic Alliances at
Palm Solutions. “This ecosystem that they are building around is just right
on target from our perspective.”

Palm has a mult-phased approach for rolling out the Java runtime
environment onto its Tungsten line. The company will make a download
available to all existing Tungsten users later this summer. Palm will then
bundle the Java component with newer Tungsten releases going forward.

IBM and Palm have been partnered up since June when the two began work on
WebSphere’s other mobile platform, WebSphere Everyplace Access. When asked about IBM’s
reaction to Palm’s acquisition plans, DaMassa replied:

“The acquisition is great because it provides more platforms to deliver this

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