Skip the navigation

Sun to build virtual machine for iPhone

Move gives millions of Java developers access to Apple gadgets

March 7, 2008 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - Sun Microsystems Inc. said Friday it will build a Java Virtual Machine (JVM) for Apple Inc.'s iPhone and iTouch, now that the iPhone's software developer's kit (SDK) beta version has been released.

A JVM is a set of programs that can be used to execute other programs and scripts. Providing a JVM for iPhone and iTouch is apt to greatly broaden the ease of developing Java applications for both devices. There are more than 6 million Java developers globally, and more than 10,000 devoted to developing for mobile devices, Sun officials said.

Eric Klein, vice president of Java marketing, said in an interview that the JVM will be made available for free "as quickly as possible" after Apple releases the final version of the iPhone 2.0 software and SDK in June.

"With more than 4 million iPhones already sold, there is a large market that developers are anxious to access," Klein said.

Klein said that Java is already widely used to develop applications on literally billions of cell phones and small devices and that a developer should have a relatively easy task when converting a Java-based application from one device to the iPhone. "That's the advantage of Java VM, to write once, run anywhere," Klein said. "Some corporations will want to run the exact same apps already on one set of phones on the iPhone."

Klein, who only arrived at Sun a month ago after a career that included stints at Apple, Microsoft, Palm and other companies, said Sun developers had spent the past 24 hours "feverishly looking through all the iPhone SDK information" to determine if Sun would want to release its own iPhone JVM.

A Java developer will be able to build an application for the iPhone with the JVM without needing to go to the iPhone SDK, Klein said.

Many more details of the iPhone JVM should be discussed on Sun blogs at the Jave One conference in San Francisco on May 6 to 9, he said.

Read more about App Development in Computerworld's App Development Topic Center.

Our Commenting Policies