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J2ME to mainstream consumers

 
Greg Schwartz
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The number of J2ME devices, specifically MIDP, has increased as expected, but there still seems to be a lack of brand awareness among the nontechnical public. Java's steaming coffee cup might be instantly recognizable to those reading this magazine, but there's a major "Huh?" factor if someone outside the technical community sees it on a phone.

The above quote is from a past issue of Java Developer Journal magazine. I've been noticing that this "lack of brand awareness among the nontechnical public" is a huge problem right now with J2ME software and its ability to be marketed to mainstream consumers.
Do you think this is just a new technology and it will be a matter of time, or will it take something else? I'm interested to you hear what others think of this issue...
Greg
 
dan moore
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hi Greg,
here in UK the networks and phone shops push java as basically "downloadable games" to the extent that there is no real awareness of ability to run useful apps. although some phone reviews parrot the nokia line of "download games or other useful applications" there don't seem to be any readily available useful ones from the main network (or other ringtone, games etc.) portals.
at the end of the day, the exciting thing about MIDP is that it's truly mass-market (i think 50 million mobiles in UK, out of 60m ppl) so it's not about a new technology (e.g. "do you have j2me on your phone?") but more about what it can do for ppl - "can u download games?". java just becomes a format (alongside mophun etc.) for these games.
personally, i am hoping there'll be a handful of really useful apps (such as our street navigator ;-) ) that will get ppl interested in stuff other than games, ppl will start selecting phones because of java + what it can do for them, networks will start pushing useful apps etc... otherwise, it's just another games format.
hmm, just a collection of thoughts really - what are u more interested in, ppl adopting the idea of downloading extensions to their phone functionality or the pushing of the java/j2me brand itself?
btw, quick question - why doesn't sun release free jvm on Windows SmartPhone??
cheers,
dan.
 
Greg Schwartz
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what are u more interested in, ppl adopting the idea of downloading extensions to their phone functionality or the pushing of the java/j2me brand itself?

Dan -
Thanks for the reply. I'd say that both of those are important. I think that the idea of downloading phone extensions is crucial. Many distributors in the US, however, are referring to this content as "Java" content through their distribution channels and many consumers don't know what this is. I think if there was more of a push from Sun to attach "Java" or "J2ME" terminology to mobile phone applications it would be a tremendous help.
I work with productivity applications and have noticed it is a bigger issue with this software opposed to games.
I'm not too familiar with the UK market. Is there any way you could point me to some popular distribution streams for J2ME in the UK? I'd really like to check out some of their developer programs and see the sites that UK consumers visit to purchase/download Java content for their phones.
Thanks so much,
Greg
 
dan moore
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hi Greg,
i do not know where statistically most people in UK are downloading from, or how much volume. however, the big 4 networks here (Vodafone, Orange, T-Mobile and O2) put their WAP portals prominently on new phones, or set as the homepage, and so my guess is that most goes through their sites. also Forum Nokia, the most popular java phones here, gets a "download more games" kind of link on those phones' games menu.
ourselves have never found great help from networks, e.g. Vodafone didn't want to now until we had a "vast number of users", but here's a couple of links to try.
http://www.developers.orange.co.uk/
http://via.vodafone.com/
http://www.sourceo2.com/O2_Developers/
just remembering the things they love - exclusivity, lack of user choice and nicking other peoples' ideas!
you may be able to visit t-mobile's WAP portal as well - unlike others, it works from other networks - http://wap.t-mobile.co.uk
other than that, i guess the more clued up users will go search online for games portals, so would find the same sites as you would through google.
cheers, dan.
 
Daryl Wilding-McBride
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I think that in Australia there is a high degree of Java brand awareness among mobile phone consumers, although I would say that for the most part people equate Java on phones with the ability to download games. Still, that's a start.
In the business community, I think people understand that J2ME means the ability to download useful business applications, but perhaps with not as much choice as what the games community enjoys. The key message, which I believe is getting through to all consumers, is that J2ME or Java means downloadable applications that run on your phone.
 
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