Monday, March 24, 2008

Sprint Keeps Fighting the Good Fight with 'Titan' Mobile Platform

Sprint has long been the most developer-friendly of the major carriers, and they're raising the Java bar with their new Titan platform.

Titan is a significant improvement over J2ME, and Sprint is doing the smart thing by making sure all Titan-capable devices run the same implementation (something Sprint actually started doing a few years back with their J2ME VM, in an attempt to ameliorate the write-once debug-everywhere problem).

But sadly, Sprint's leap forward (and Sun's, if they succeed in getting their SavaJe-derivative JavaFX mobile platform shipped) is just more trouble for the mobile application industry: it's yet another incompatible platform that must be supported, but which doesn't replace any existing platform.

No one wants to build or fund a company (or application project) that can only reach a subset of Sprint subscribers (those with the Titan handsets). It's a non-starter. While the iPhone has enough sex appeal to drum up an entire investment fund just for its own apps, Titan has no hope of accomplishing the same thing.

So a "great new mobile app" can only choose to support the legacy platforms and ignore Titan, or support the legacy platforms and also support Titan. Anyone else see the problem here?

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