06 April 2009

Fragmented Java - Finally!

Nokia has announced that it will version "Java Runtime for S60" separately from the underlying S60 platform starting with S60 3rd Edition Feature Pack 2. This will increase java fragmentation. It's about time!

Java fragmentation is a huge problem. Instead of "write once, run anywhere", you need to test separately on hundreds of devices. Sometimes you have to choose features on certain devices in certain operator network or just the lowest common denominators. Either way, this has given java a bad name. Android suddenly looks very attractive, even with just one device out.

Nokia decision means offering Java Runtime updates outside firmware upgrades. This does increase fragmentation between and inside platforms, even within one device. True. On the other hand it increases device lifetime. Fragmentation can be partially fixed by individual updates. If this can be automated, situation improves!

Instead of fighting a lost war, Nokia turns the situation upside down and makes the best of it. New cool features, not supported by your device? Just update Java Runtime! Brave move, wise move, good for customers, good for marketing. Wonder what Sun will say about it? Or maybe IBM?