When I caught up with Sun CTO Bob Brewin a few weeks ago at AjaxWorld, I wasn’t expecting to talk about telephones. But that was exactly what Brewin had on his mind as he promoted Sun’s software stack for Rich Internet Applications (RIAs), JavaFX.
That’s because JavaFX lets developers create programs that can be ported unchanged to PCs, music and video players, game consoles TV set-top boxes andphones.
Kinda makes you think of the Apple iPhone. But Brewin is aiming higher than the iPhone, although he carries one. The iPhone is useful as an example of how to take a potentially good thing and miss the mark.
“Apple and ATT created this complete user experience and then they hamstrung it,” comments Brewin, referring to the fact that Apple strictly limits the programs that can run on the iPhone and, until recently, the device only worked on ATT’s mobile network.
“How long do you think that’s going to last?” he continues. “Already in Asia there are companies coming out with iPhone equivalents. What’s missing is the software. Coming from Sun, I’m a huge fan of open source and open standards. [Apple’s] walled garden approach has fundamental limits. In a year or two there will be a large number of competitors to Apple.”
Add up the facts that handset manufacturers are rushing to copy the iPhone, mobile carriers are looking to compete with the ATT/iPhone early entry advantage, and Sun’s JavaFX software that just happens to bring any application you want to a smartphone. It doesn’t take a genius to come up with…a Sun Phone.
Sun currently is testing handsets with mobile carriers and Brewin declines to talk about delivery dates other than to say “as soon as humanly possible.” Talk is that Sun is working with Samsung to develop the JavaFX phone, but no one is commenting.
But one thing consumers can count on: When it hits the market, the SunPhone will work with any carrier you want. And it will do VoIP out of the box.