M2M ready

Oracle finally embraces embedded with Java ME Embedded 3.2

Chris Mayer
RaspberryPI

Just ahead of JavaOne, Oracle make a ploy to entice the only developer area that Java doesn’t cover – light embedded devices. Can it make an impact?

With JavaOne excitement ramping up, Oracle have picked the
perfect time to launch two products targeting the emerging
machine-to-machine (M2M) field.

The latest inclusion to the database giant’s platform
portfolio is

Java ME Embedded 3.2,
designed specifically
to make Java development on lighter footprint devices, such as
micro-controllers
for machine-to-machine systems, far
easier.

There’s a real craving (as shown by emerging Eclipse projects,
Paho, Koneki and Mihini)for smart-grid infrastructure across the
tech industry, all of whom are hoping to harness some extra power
for small footprint devices such as environmental and tracking
sensors.

In truth, this is the one area where Java has a real blind
spot. Whilst Java ME has been around for some time, Oracle has
never entered the realm of M2M before, sticking to enterprise and
mobile alone. Developers operate these devices remotely, often
releasing updates quickly to minimize impact on the entire
network.

Steering clear until now made sense – M2M solutions have only
really taken off in the past 12 months,
and with the
market developing
Oracle’s move seems a shrewd
one.

The 3.2 release uses the Oracle Java Wireless Client 3.2
codebase, which already runs on feature phones. As a starting
point, the commercial release supports ARM devices, with an
expansion promised at a later date.

As is Oracle’s way, there’s packaging of Java ME Embedded and
Java Wireless Client 3.2 into a new Java ME SDK. This includes
Eclipse plugins alongside the already offered NetBeans. There’s
also a promise of a standard binary for rapid prototyping on ARM
development boards in the future.

Oracle’s second release,
Java Embedded Suite
, effectively tying
together their middleware options to run on heavier embedded
devices. This includes the likes of Java SE Embedded 7 and Java DB,
as well as a refocused Glassfish and Jersey for embedded
development.

Nandini Ramini, Oracle’s VP of Engineering of Java Client and
Mobile Platforms explained that the rapid growth in IoT has driven
demand for increased capabilities in embedded devices.

She added:  “Java’s uniquely
flexible architecture supports these requirements through a
highly-secure virtual machine designed to support remote
application updates and downloads. With the release of the new
Oracle Java ME Embedded 3.2, Oracle now enables the connection of
data and processes for small embedded M2M devices on ‘The Internet
of Things’.”

Whether Oracle’s hand was forced somewhat by the increasing
number of developers turning to proprietary offerings is up for
debate. What is clear is that Oracle desperately needed to fill the
void for embedded development and this release
is
their
opening gambit.

Now the real task is to entice Java
developers back into the fold, and Java Embedded @ JavaOne might
just be the place to try and do that.

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