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(No.1 High-Tech News Site in Japanese)

  • Matsushita, Sun to Develop Java for Consumer Products
  • December 18, 1998 (TOKYO) -- Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. and Sun Microsystems Inc. said they will co-develop a software development environment for consumer electronic devices.
    It will include a Java application programming interface (API) for digital television software development.

    Matsushita also signed a PersonalJava licensing agreement with Sun on Dec. 15.

    PersonalJava is a programming specification for developing Java applications for consumer products equipped with displays. It is a subset of the Java Development Kit (JDK) version 1.1.x for computer systems, and requires just 2MB of main memory for operation.

    Matsushita will use PersonalJava to develop network-enabled digital consumer products. Commercial availability is expected in 2000 at the earliest, said Sukeichi Miki, director of Matsushita Electric Industrial.

    The company is considering using PersonalJava in a number of products. Among the candidates are receivers for digital terrestrial television broadcasting, which began in the United States in November 1998, and Internet-enabled telephones and mobile information appliances. Plans will be finalized later.

    In addition to the PersonalJava licensing agreement, the companies agreed on the following two points:

    (1) Matsushita Electric will work with Sun to formulate a Java API for digital TV software, and to determine ways of applying the API, and (2) The companies will jointly investigate a "lite" version of Java that can be used as a developmen t and run-time environment for software designed to run on consumer devices that incorporate an 8-bit microcontroller.

    As well as using Java in audio/visual equipment, Matsushita said that it is interested in exploring Java's possible application for delivering network connectivity in consumer products and devices.

    Contrary to some media reports, the company denied plans to use Jini, Sun's distributed object technology. Jini is not mentioned in the present agreement, according to Matsushita.

    "We have been looking at Jini, but we don't think it has come far enough yet to be used in software development," Miki said.

    More information in English is at: http://www.panasonic.co.jp/corp/news/official.d ata/data.dir/en981215-2/en981215-2.html

    Related stories:
    � Matsushita Announces Digital TV Operating System Roadmap
    � Standards for Home Appliance Network to be Set in 1999

    (BizTech News Dept.)

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    Updated: Thu Dec 17 23:03:25 1998 PDT