Sprint makes moves toward more Java for its smartphones

During the JavaOne Conference in San Francisco this week, Sprint relaunched its Professional Developer Program while also introducing its latest version of an SDK based upon the Sun Microsystems Java Wireless Toolkit.

The Sprint Wireless Toolkit 3.3 update offers the first SDK for a new touch phone slated for launch for Sprint users only, later this summer. The update aims to enable developers to create content through a more automated process for compiling and debugging code.

There are currently more than 4 billion devices worldwide using Java technology, with more than 1.2 billion of those being Java ME-endowed mobile phones, by Sun's estimate.

To help developers remain involved in creating applications for Sprint, the company is using JavaOne to promote Titan, its next generation mobile Java platform that utilizes tools and resources traditionally used for desktop program development. The current beta version of Titan allows developers to create content for smartphones powered by Microsoft's Windows Mobile technology.

Since launching wireless Internet access on its phones in 2001, Sprint has adopted an open Internet approach that continues today with its official relaunch of the Professional Developer Program. The program makes Sprint's restricted APIs available to software developers who elect to pay an annual fee and want to create enhanced software using an interface not available to the general public.

Sprint has been in the news a lot recently, with a recent Wall Street Journal indicating Deutsche Telekom is interested in a possible takeover of Sprint Nextel. Also according to that report, Sprint is mulling over the possibility of selling its struggling Nextel unit, just three years after Sprint's $35 billion acquisition.

Also at the show, Sprint is promoting the Samsung Instinct, a new touch screen mobile phone Sprint and Samsung hope will rival Apple's iPhone. This GPS-enabled phone offers full HTML browsing, a 3.1-inch screen with localized haptic feedback, and EV-DO. The phone's launch is scheduled to take place early this summer.

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