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FTPOnline Special Report: Mobile Java Development

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Evolving Java for Series 40 Devices
Check out the API additions that enhance application development opportunities for Series 40 Platform 3rd Edition.
by Alex Haynes

April 17, 2006

Mobile Java applications offer developers a significant opportunity to extend the commercial reach of their Java skills. To effectively take advantage of these opportunities developers need consistent implementation of Java technology and a large marketplace of mobile consumers. Nokia takes a platform approach to device creation, which means that while devices may offer unique designs and features for specific markets, the underlying Java technology is uniformly implemented. An application designed for one device can easily be optimized for another device that is based on the same platform. You can build and deliver mobile applications for a global audience in less time, with less effort, and at a lower cost.


For any Java developer the Series 40 platform is excellent for beginning a foray into mobile development. Let's take a look at the latest release of the platform, Series 40 Platform 3rd Edition, and discuss the API enhancements that allow you to create more appealing applications that offer higher value to mobile users.

The Series 40 Platform 3rd Edition builds on the strong foundation provided by Series 40 2nd Edition, where Connected Limited Device Configuration (CLDC) 1.1 and Mobile Information Device Profile (MIDP) 2.0 were introduced, and extends the platform to meet the growing demand for application functionality. Series 40 Platform 3rd Edition is an evolutionary technology, and as such it is generally backward compatible with both the first and second editions of the Series 40 platform.

Series 40 Platform 2nd Edition gave developers the ability to create applications that use Bluetooth technology through JSR 82, send Short Message Service (SMS) messages through JSR 120, and play back tone and MIDI sounds through JSR 135. The second edition works with 128x128-pixel screens, displaying images in 16-bit color. Series 40 Platform 3rd Edition builds on these features, providing important new functionality for Java applications and support for screens of up to 240x320 pixels in 32-bit color.

Graphical Enhancements
While the Series 40 platform can be used for any style of Java application, games are one of the most popular. Series 40 Platform 3rd Edition enables developers to advance the quality of game play with the introduction of the Mobile 3D Graphics API (JSR 184). This API can bring visual improvements to existing games and opens the way for previously unsupported game styles. However, it is not just games that can benefit from 3-D functionality, which allows for animations and new UI components to be created within other application categories.

Devices' file system and personal information manager (PIM) lists have been restricted areas to Java applications in the past, but with Series 40 Platform 3rd Edition applications can access certain areas of a device's file system or PIM data. Applications can now access the device's gallery to manipulate images, sounds, and other files; save e mail attachments; and read and write fields for contacts, events, and to-do lists.

Multimedia APIs were first introduced in Series 40 Platform 2nd Edition; the functionality has now been extended with camera and video support in Series 40 Platform 3rd Edition, which allows applications to record and play back still images and video captured with the device's camera. The API allows for the playback of multiple video formats and paves the way for applications that play videos prepared by third parties, such as the latest episodes of current television programs or a users' favorite video podcasts.

All of these functional improvements are enhanced by the new UI style employed in Series 40 Platform 3rd Edition. The large 240x320-pixel screen displayed in 32-bit color means Java developers can benefit from the improved viewing experience provided to mobile consumers, which will drive content and media consumption. In addition, presentation changes in some of the high-level Java UI components mean that Java applications more closely resemble the native device applications.

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