Insignia has announced that Sendo, the British handset manufacturer, has licensed its Mobile Foundation software for inclusion on the Z100 Microsoft smartphone. Mobile Foundation is a J2ME-compatible application provisioning system, enabling users to download and run mobile Java applications supplied by network operators.
Sendo’s Z100 was announced at the 2001 GSM World Congress, nearly two years ago, and is set to be the first smartphone to run Microsoft’s Smartphones 2002 operating system when it is introduced in the next few months. Microsoft has been promoting .NET as the framework for developing and provisioning mobile applications, but operator demand for J2ME-based solutions has forced Sendo to include the technology in the Z100. The tri-band GPRS handset will have a 65,000 colour TFT screen and PIM, communications and media applications.
“Insignia’s Mobile Foundation is fully optimised for Microsoft platforms and we are impressed by Insignia’s fast integration of their software in our Z100 Smartphone,” said Susan Macke, Sendo’s VP of Smartphones. “It fulfills the requirements of our customers, the mobile operators, while not delaying our time to market. Since we expect that the majority of our future phones will include Java enabling software, we are pleased to have been able to reach an agreement with Insignia.”
PMN’s 27/08/2002 article ‘Insignia brings Java to Smartphones 2002‘ suggested that the Insignia product announcement might presage the delayed Z100 launch. Sendo has obviously been leaned upon by its operator customers to ensure full J2ME compatibility in the Z100, no doubt much to Microsoft’s annoyance.
This was always going to be the danger in Microsoft’s strategy of promoting the operator as the controlling influence on handset design – what happens when the operator decides it wants a technology incompatible with Microsoft’s policy roadmap? The technological merits of .NET aside, it would be stupidity for any Western operator to supply customers with a smartphone incompatible with mobile Java.
Originally published by PMN Mobile Industry Intelligence, the subscription-based analysis and insight platform founded by Marek Pawlowski.