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SUN TO LET JINI OUT OF THE BOX TODAY

NEW YORK-Proceeding toward its vision of the network as the computer, Sun Microsystems Inc., Palo Alto, Calif., is expected to introduce formally this week the successor to its Java programming language.

Spelled J-i-n-i, and pronounced “genie,” the new software allows Java to enable devices like computers, cellular phones and televisions to communicate without depending on Microsoft Corp.’s Windows operating system.

The deployment of wireless networks has made it possible for Sun to let the Jini out of the box. The confluence of telecommunications and computing has provided the catalyst for software developers to design programs based on the premise there will be a single, ubiquitous network accessible from many fixed and mobile points.

If successful, Jini could boost the market for interconnected consumer products ranging from wireless phones and personal digital assistants to home appliances, allowing them to interact with each other.

The idea behind Jini is to give devices more intelligence to communicate with others along a network, including those that use different operating systems, said Michael Clary, Sun’s senior project manager for the new software.

Several companies, including Canon Inc., Ericsson Inc. and Seagate Technology Inc. are evaluating Jini, according to Sun.

“We don’t really know exactly where we are going, but we understand that significant technologies like this one don’t come along very often,” said William “Billy” Moon, director of new concepts for Ericsson.

From a wireless carrier’s viewpoint, Jini will allow a pager or cell phone to identify itself by brand and capabilities to the network, said Sanir Mitra, director of marketing for the Jini project.

“This is a business opportunity to drive value because the network will know what the clients (devices) are, where they are and what they can do” in order to target specialized services to the end-user, he said.

From the perspective of a pager or wireless handset manufacturer, “you won’t have to compete just on price and how cool it looks,” Mitra said.

“The [wireless device] can become a service provider to the network.”

Sun’s Web site said details about Jini will be posted on it today.

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