SavaJe: What Happened?
SavaJe was a company that did its own Java-based operating system for mobile phones, with its own operating system – “Java on bare metal”, almost a Lisp machine that way but on conventional hardware. They did use C/C++ for low levels. This always sounded very interesting. Here’s what I was able to gather from some Web research. I don’t have any direct knowledge; please send comments correcting any errors.
They released their SavaGe XE operating system in 2001. It came with a secure browser, an email client, calendar, to-do list, contact list, MP3 music player, picture viewer, notepad editor, and games. It supported device drivers for color displays, an external keyboard, Ethernet, wireless networking, and dialup networking. (That seems like a lot for a first release!)
They got lots of publicity and interest. James Gosling himself demoed it during his keynote at JaveOne 2006. It then ran on the “Jasper S20 mobile phone, made by Group Sense Limited PDA”. At this point, over 700M phones had Java on them in one way or another, because of Java’s portability, familiarity to developers, and the built-in security (evidently the mobile phone vendors and carriers liked this a lot). SavaJe supported a huge number of major libraries, including advanced 3D graphics, XML parsing, Mobile Media, etc, etc.
But in about October 2006, SavaJe evidently ran out of money, after having raised a total of $71M (!) in funding. In April 2007, Sun Microsystems bought SavaJe.
Sun now uses the SavaJe technology in their JavaFX Mobile product, which came out early this year. JavaFX Mobile claims to let you write “Rich Internet Applications” (RIA’s), applications that can run on desktops, laptops, and every possible phone/handheld. Sony, LG, and Sprint are on board, though not Apple. It works with Google’s Android. It’s apparently aimed at interactive applications with rich user interfaces, including animation, video, and so on. It involves “JavaFX Script”, a declarative language that runs in the browser (if I understand correctly).
“With JavaFX 1.0 you’ll get a runtime, JavaFX Script, plug-ins to NetBeans 6.5 and Eclipse, and Adobe Systems’ Creative Suite version 3 and 4. The Adobe plug-ins let graphics artist create an asset and then wraps it in meta data so it can show up in the IDE with necessary attributes.” wrote The Register in Feb 2009. Java is now on 2.1 billion mobile phones.
The primary competition is Microsoft’s Silverlight and Adobe’s Flex. Has anyone tried JavaFX and seen how it compares?