Sony Ericsson today announced details concerning its Java Platform 7 (JP-7), the backwards compatible developer platform for creating games and imaging applications for Sony Ericsson mobile phones.
JP-7 supports a range of Java Specification Requests (JSRs), including Advanced Multimedia Supplements (JSR 234) for enhanced camera and image handling. In addition, the platform allows for the ability to control the camera exposure (i.e. the amount of light on the image sensor), the focus, zoom functionality and the camera's flash from a Java ME-based application as well as rotating the camera image.
The ability to record video and precisely control frame-by-frame location, allowing the end-user to ‘move around’ in the video, is also offered by JP-7 based phones. These capabilities can now be controlled from a Java ME-based application, which makes possible new imaging applications from the global third party developer community.
Industry trends indicate that there is an increasing gap in Java ME performance between entry-level and high-end phones. The main contributors to Java ME fragmentation are the differences in supported application programming interfaces (APIs), building blocks (software platforms, CPU, Virtual Machine vendor, device hardware) and quality (bugs and performance issues). These issues have been addressed to a large extent through standardization and higher quality implementations.
Sony Ericsson’s Java ME performance has significantly improved not only for its high-end phones but also for entry-level phones in the past couple of years with the introduction of MIDP 2.0 and Mobile Java 3D support across the portfolio. In addition, Sony Ericsson's strategy to build backwards compatible Java platforms, aligned with the industry standards, has proven successful and received very positive feedback from the developer community.
Additionally, Sony Ericsson has been an aggressive advocate of Mobile Java 3D with support for the two 3D API's Mobile 3D Graphics (JSR-184) and Mascot Capsule Micro3D Engine v3
on more than 35 phones to date. An independent developer benchmark survey conducted by UK research firm Recom Research in March this year also showed that the company’s global developer support program and web portal, Sony Ericsson Developer World, was considered to be the leading technical resource for Mobile Java 3D development.
Sony Ericsson has increased the quality of the Java performance on its phones by spending more engineering time on development, analyzing the source code of third party technology like Fishlabs’ ABYSS game engine, and testing of software implementations. The Java development team has also made bug fixes and performance upgrades in general for JSR-184 and the Mascot Capsule v3 API for JP-7 phones.
Increased memory is now available in the phones (> 5MB heap possible), allowing more graphics heavy and higher quality games to be developed. Sony Ericsson also supports a new, optional control in the JSR-135 Mobile Media API with JP-7. With the so-called ‘TempoControl’, developers can control the tempo and rate of a MIDI file, typically used as in-game music and sound effects. With this fine grained control developers can create a richer game-playing experience for the user, for example. by increasing the tempo of the music when danger approaches in a game level or similar.
With JP-7, Sony Ericsson is the first handset manufacturer to introduce support for multiple simultaneously running Java applications in a single virtual machine on mass-market mobile phones.
"In line with Sony Ericsson's strategic intent to make Java ME a viable alternative to an open operating system, we have introduced a MultiVM (multi-tasking virtual machine), making it possible to have several Java MIDlets running on the phone at the same time and switch between them,” said Hanz Häger. “This enables Java-based push e-mail solutions and many other high-value, mobile applications running at the same time as you are playing games, for example. Sony Ericsson’s new Java Platform 7 really takes the Java ME technology in mobile phones to new dimensions."