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But that doesn't mean that Java ME is dead on devices. BlackBerry still uses Java ME as the basis for its app development; and, more intriguingly, phones that are not really smartphones, but not dumb phones that just make calls, are outfitted with Java ME with increasing frequency. Thus, there's this interesting quote in the IDG News Service coverage of the announcement of a Java ME version of the GyPSii social networking client:
Owners of mobile phones such as the Nokia 6300 and the C905 from Sony Ericsson will now be able to connect to the location-centric mobile social network, which, for example, lets users find nearby places that friends and others have tagged. The user experience will be comparable to what users on high-end smartphones are currently getting, GyPSii said. As the smartphone market has taken off, application development for simpler devices that use proprietary operating systems but support Java has taken a back seat, said Paolo Pescatore, analyst at CCS Insight. But for a social network like GyPSii it's important to be on as many devices as possible, he said. GyPSii is already available for Apple's iPhone, BlackBerry handsets and phones based on Windows Mobile and the Symbian OS.
Note the order -- those high-end smartphones got taken care of first -- but Java ME allows an entree into the world of not-quite-smartphones, providing smartphone-ish capabilities that the underlying OS perhaps does not. It isn't flashy or glamorous, but there are a lot more of those phones out there than there are high-end phones, and their users are suffering from smartphone envy of one sort or another. Just as Java was designed for the desktop and then thrived in the boring world of servers, so perhaps might Java ME end up boosting the power of the workaday phone, not driving the mobile revolution.