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Mobile Java Eyed by Big Media Companies in the UK

Mobile Java Eyed by Big Media Companies in the UK

Some of the UK's biggest media companies, like News International and broadcaster Endemol, are anticipated to start rolling out initiatives designed to provide them with more direct relationships to consumers using mobile handsets. According to leading analysts, media companies are seeing mobile Java (J2ME) as the perfect platform by which to deliver content directly to subscribers.

What is appealing about the mobile platform rests in its ability to dynamically update content. For media companies, especially news broadcasters, this would create a conduit by which the latest headlines could be delivered to users' phones.

Bruce Vandenberg, the outgoing head of interactive at Celador, elaborated, "Mobile Java gives us the opportunity to build an interface to put all a broadcaster's content in one area, from which consumers can navigate to from one place." He added, "TV is strong enough to tie people into brands like Big Brother."

J2ME also provides users with a far better environment that can be customized to suit individual tastes. WAP, the current mobile protocol, is very limited in terms of its flexibility. For example, a page displayed in a WAP browser, does not allow for even minor changes, such as altering a cell phone's background display color. With Java, this is easily accomplished. A provider can translate all its branding to the application.

Paul Thomson, managing director of developer Straylight, offered this comparison to highlight the gulf between the two platforms. He said, "It's like the progression from Netscape 2 to dynamic HTML in terms of user experience."

Other developers bolster Thomson's strong sentiment towards Java, saying that the mobile platform is the next evolution in mobile technology. Emap Performance's mobile business development manager, Rob Willis, stated, 'It's part of the progression of mobile to establish itself as a new media platform." He added, noting the platform's appeal to media interests, "With Java, your proposition looks great, which is what publishers want, so it's pushing us to launch off operator portals."

A number of companies have already started preliminary launches of Java portals, and their number continues to increase rapidly. Opera Telecom and TCS have both launched white-label Java portals; and some companies, like Straylight, have realigned their entire business so that it revolves around J2ME development.

One problem with the mobile Java revolution that seems afoot is the lack of core standards that can guarantee Java applications will work universally. Steve Procter, founder of mobile services company iTagg, has developed small Java applications for companies like Conde Nast. According to him, the testing of Java applications is a very involved and costly undertaking. Calling the testing process a "nightmare," he went on to say, "It's like in the early days of multiple Web browsers, you need to test on ten phones just to have a core everyone is happy with. The cost issue with testing is such for brands that people's enthusiasm is knocked back a bit when they get a quote."

More Stories By J2ME News Desk

J2ME News Desk bring occasional brief news of the latest deployments Java technology in mobile phones worldwide.

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