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Android Cellphones Handhelds Java Operating Systems Oracle The Internet

Feature Phones Make Java ME, Not Android, the #2 Mobile Internet OS 286

Posted by timothy
from the feature-creature dept.
bonch writes "According to a report from NetApplications, which has measured browser usage data since 2004, Oracle's Java Mobile Edition has surpassed Android as the #2 mobile OS on the internet at 26.80%, with iOS at 46.57% and Android at 13.44%. And the trend appears to be growing. Java ME powers hundreds of millions of low-end 'feature phones' for budget buyers. In 2011, feature phones made up 60% of the install base in the U.S." Looking at the linked chart, it looks Java ME's been ahead of Android for all of 2011, too, except for the month of October.
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Feature Phones Make Java ME, Not Android, the #2 Mobile Internet OS

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  • Holiday impact? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DaphneDiane (72889) * <tg6xin001@sneakemail.com> on Tuesday January 03, 2012 @11:15AM (#38572012)

    I wonder how much Christmas played into those little bumps. It's almost like people head off buying expensive new phones during that period, possibly in hopes in getting them for gifts. Possibly to afford more gifts. Would have been nice to see back one more year. Because otherwise looks like JavaME is steadily losing share, but had a bump the last two months.

    • Re:Holiday impact? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by vlm (69642) on Tuesday January 03, 2012 @11:20AM (#38572088)

      I wonder how much Christmas played into those little bumps. It's almost like people head off buying expensive new phones during that period, possibly in hopes in getting them for gifts.

      Sounds like "gifting" someone a puppy or a kitten. Hey, here's a phone as a gift. Whoops it comes with a $120/year two year contract, so sorry your "gift" actually cost you about three grand over the next two years, hope you don't mind.

      • by AJH16 (940784)

        In a family though it makes sense. My spouse got me a Galaxy Nexus for Christmas and her cousin (like 8) got his first cellphone from his parents for Christmas.

      • What about pay as you go phones? Very few people I know have a contract only the uber geeks who actually use lots of mobile Internet data. Loads of people get pay as you go phones for Xmas.
        • What about pay as you go phones?

          The affordable pay as you go plans tend to be available only for feature phones. For example, Virgin Mobile USA's "payLo" plans starting at $7/mo appear available only for feature phones, and Android phones have to use a $35/mo "Beyond Talk" plan that has as many voice minutes in a month as I'll use in a year.

          • by gl4ss (559668)

            what do you need to tell them what phone do you have? just buy the sim, just buy the phone and pop it in.

            I'm assuming pay-as-you-go means actually _prepaid_ as it usually does.

          • So you have to have a plan for all phones? You can't just buy a phone where you prepay for your costs by buying a top up card in a shop or using an ATM etc? That what I mean by pay as you go. There is no plan, just buy the phone and add money to it when you need. This is how the vast majority of phones work in Europe, I assumed you could do the same in America.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by vlm (69642)

              LOL mobile phones in the US are the biggest scam / confuseopoly you can imagine. Imagine the opposite of the European business relationship, and you're there.

              I was doing the Virgin Mobile $7/month plan like Tepples, and recently lucked into the republic wireless while it was open for beta, and I'm quite pleased with it, although it does cost about 3 times as much at $20/month.

              My $120/month iphone coworker is absolutely aghast that he pays more per month than I pay in half a year. A large part of the appea

      • by mcrbids (148650)

        $120/year two year contract, so sorry your "gift" actually cost you about three grand over the next two years

        Let's see... 120 * 2 = 240. Where does the other $2,760 come into play?

        Did you mean $120/month? And if so, who pays anything like that for a smartphone? Even Verizon has options for unlimited data plans at around $30/month, and in this case, you pay no different for the voice plans as you would pay for a "feature" phone. Their most expensive unlimited data AND unlimited talking phone plan is still less than $100/month.

    • Re:Holiday impact? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 03, 2012 @11:39AM (#38572408)

      You are correct. Here is a link to a chart with a slightly longer [netmarketshare.com] time frame.

      JavaME has been rapidly losing share to Android. Thanks bonch for bringing this to everyone's attention.

      • Re:Holiday impact? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Toonol (1057698) on Tuesday January 03, 2012 @12:30PM (#38573034)
        I find it odd that the editors take submissions from people like bonch, or other known partisan trolls here. If you read slashdot with any regularity, you learn to recognize and disregard those names quickly. I'm forced to conclude that the editors either don't read slashdot, or like to post trolling headlines.
  • Is there a standard way to get MIDlets (Java ME applications) onto feature phones without having to get them approved by the phone's manufacturer or the carrier?
    • by gl4ss (559668)

      yes. you just have to get the .jar sent to the phone somehow or make the phone to download the .jar
      a standard simple way is to make put them on a web server that has the right mime types and then point the phones browser to the .jar there. if you want it to load as signed, to allow for more lax security rules(in actual reality though signing j2me apps is useless, you don't gain much benefits from buying a cert and signing. I know, I tried - what you'd need would be carriers/manufacturers sign. and different

      • by tepples (727027)

        btw loading from web works usually with even old-ass carrier branded motorolas, even if they're of the variety where local sideloading of j2me apps was disabled.

        So if local sideloading is disabled on a particular model, and I don't subscribe to a big data plan, how do I test each build?

        • by gl4ss (559668)

          in the emulator.
          you don't need to test every build on a real device for most kind of j2me apps, apart from testing that the api's are actually present on the device and do what the documents say, which they don't.

          but a dataplan would be the first thing to get. or a device that allows sideloading, it's not like they're that hard to find. for simple 2d games the emulators are just peachy, but you need to test every now and then for performance of course until you get a feel for it..

          • by tepples (727027)

            but a dataplan would be the first thing to get. or a device that allows sideloading

            What Java ME device that allows sideloading would you recommend for use on Virgin Mobile USA so that I can get a feel for performance?

  • Mobile OS? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 03, 2012 @11:19AM (#38572064)

    Duh, since when was Java ME an OS?

    • Java ME is an operating environment and a platform, even if it does not necessarily include a kernel (the program that multiplexes access to hardware among multiple processes). Please allow me to rephrase: "More phones are capable of running MIDlets than APKs."
      • by hey! (33014)

        Please allow me to rephrase: "More phones are capable of running MIDlets than APKs."

        Sure. But is there a functioning *market* for midlets? One that will bring a pack of uniformly targetable customers to developers and a selection of apps for users? Or is it divided up by handset manufacturer and implementation?

        I followed Java ME for a decade; it was promising, but it was never one platform that could bring users and developers together because it was controlled by so many different middle men. It was the handset makers' role to provide an implementation, and they catered to the carriers, n

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 03, 2012 @11:34AM (#38572340)

      Well first there was Java 3.1,
      Then there was Java 3.11, For Workgroups,
      Then there was Java 95
      Then there was Java 98
      Finally there was Java ME

    • by wzinc (612701)
      They probably mean the unique user agent that a J2ME browser would send.
  • Because people routinely use Java applications on their feature-phones, rather than phone-dialing and call-taking features? Really?

    • by hitmark (640295)

      Opera Mini makes for a much better browser than my phones built in one (much of it helped by the offloading nature of its design), and lately i have found myself using a facebook j2me that the site itself promoted.

  • ... is that people are a) paying for data plans for relatively dumb phones or b) surfing that much without a good data plan.

    (I've had an iPhone since late 2007, but before that my (%$#@#$&%) kid ran up multi-hundred-dollar phone bills with a basic phone* and data costs of, I think, 20 cents per kilobyte. What does pay-as-you-go data run these days?)

    * Nokia 6800, 128x128 color screen.

    • 20 cents per kilobyte

      Even AOL was only 1 cent per kilobyte back in the 2400 bps modem era. Did you really mean 20 cents per kilobyte and not per megabyte?

      • by Shados (741919)

        my first "data plan" pre-iphone era (way before) was $49.99 for 5 megabytes with something like 20-30 cents per kilobyte after that.

        Yeah, it was pretty ridiculous.

      • by cgenman (325138)

        I remember experimentally buying a 500kb (little b) game back in the day over my phone. AT&T charged $5 for the game, and about $5 for the bandwidth to receive the game. It seemed like a bad case of double-dipping to me.

    • by pruss (246395)

      Actually, cheap data plans in some cases can be a reason to stay on a relatively dumb phone, as long as it has a decent browser (and I think there is at least one HTC feature phone that has a good Opera browser). I'm on a no-longer available $30/month 500 minute, unlimited data/text SERO plan with Sprint. I am currently using a Treo 700. According to Sprint, if I were to switch to a more modern "smart phone" (by Sprint's definition), I'd have to switch to a new, much more expensive plan. So if my Treo d

    • by hitmark (640295)

      Opera Mini offloads much of the traffic and render work to external servers (yep, it breaks the https chain so i would not recommend it for online banking and such). The latest version has a data traffic display that shows that it has reduced the traffic amount by 90% over the usage period since install.

  • by yelvington (8169) on Tuesday January 03, 2012 @11:24AM (#38572164) Homepage

    I have access to a great deal of actual and current mobile usage data, and this is just completely at odds with reality. "Feature phone" owners in the United States typically do not have data plans and do not use the Internet.

    Actual measured usage of mobile Web services by "feature phones" is slightly above that of Windows Mobile, which is to say "irrelevant noise at the bottom of the chart" in the range of 1 to 2 percent.

    Grandpa's Jitterbug may in fact run J2ME, but Grandpa doesn't use it.

    • by thebjorn (530874) <bjorn@tkbe.org> on Tuesday January 03, 2012 @11:43AM (#38572482) Homepage

      have access to a great deal of actual and current mobile usage data, and this is just completely at odds with reality.

      That is my experience too. Statcounter is more representative of what I'm seeing: http://gs.statcounter.com/#mobile_os-US-monthly-201012-201112 [statcounter.com]

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I have access to a great deal of actual and current mobile usage data, and this is just completely at odds with reality."Feature phone" owners in the United States typically do not have data plans and do not use the Internet.

      Actual measured usage of mobile Web services by "feature phones" is slightly above that of Windows Mobile, which is to say "irrelevant noise at the bottom of the chart" in the range of 1 to 2 percent.

      Grandpa's Jitterbug may in fact run J2ME, but Grandpa doesn't use it.

      Yes, in the USA, feature phone owners do not use the Internet. However, there are a few poor, sorry souls who do not have the good fortune to live in the Android-buying, iOS-loving, Blackberry-clutching USA.

      The summary links to two articles; the first one (Netmarketshare) is global and the second one (Neilsen) is US-specific. Sounds like your data is US-specific as well.

      • Yes, in the USA, feature phone owners do not use the Internet.

        Not totally accurate. I had internet access with my T-Mobile based Ericsson World Phone. I also had unlimited data on the edge network for only $5 a month.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Jerry Atrick (2461566)

      Yep, if you paid more than $5 for the phone it can run Java (unless Steve Jobs said NO!), but only the really desperate access the net with one and almost none knowingly install or run any Java apps beyond what the device shipped with. I tested net access on my fathers feature phone and it was painfully, unusably slow. On a sad JaveME based 'china phone' it was still far too bad to actually use, even over WiFi.

      JavaME is a ubiquitous tech that no-one knowingly chooses to use. That's not a story, that's just

      • by 0123456 (636235)

        Agreed. I have some kind of Java crap on my 'makes phone calls and sends texts' phone and every once in a while I press one of the buttons by accident while it's in my pocket and next time I open it it says 'Starting Java' and the battery is down 90%.

        So I presumably have this thing and really, really wish I didn't.

    • by cgenman (325138)

      Nowhere does the data say that it refers to the US, though. In fact, Netmarketshare specifically weights data by country. I was in Thailand 7 or 8 years ago, and internet stuff (especially e-mail) was pretty common to see everyone doing on all handsets, most of which would be considered dumbphones (or Symbian).

      iPhones are disproportionately popular in the US. The rest of the world has been using Java handsets for smartphone tasks forever, including Opera Mobile (which is excellent, by the way).

      The second

  • Yay! (Score:2, Troll)

    by assertation (1255714)

    Unashamed Java fanboy here. Yes!

    This must really burn up the haters.

  • by Drathos (1092) on Tuesday January 03, 2012 @11:26AM (#38572186)

    J2ME is not an OS. It's a runtime environment that runs on top of an OS (like Blackberry OS), just like normal Java.

  • Sorry, but Java ME is not an operating system.

    • by medv4380 (1604309)
      But it is a platform
      • by Terrasque (796014)

        But it is a platform

        So is the web. And that platform runs just fine on all smartphones and most feature phones.

  • I would love to see more information about how the statistics were gathered. How would using Firefox, Opera or Skyfire impact this? Does this really only mean that the majority of Android users don't use their built in browser when using the web? I know I frequently use either Firefox or Skyfire, though I've started to use the built in browser with ICS more. Comparatively, my impression at least is that the vast majority of users on iPhone/iPad use Safari.

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      well, they screw up the stats, of course.

      if you're tired of m. sites, you'd click your opera to report itself as a desktop browser anyways.

      it's quite possible they're only gathering stats which include the phone model on the headers - and only those which they happened to buy from some db they chose.

    • by hitmark (640295)

      Not surprising, as for instance the only Opera browser found for iOS is Opera Mini. Apple have specifically denied anyone from making a Safari competitor (closest you get is a bunch of UI wrappers around the Webkit engine provided by iOS).

      Also, a good bunch of these alternative browsers allow the user to mask them as iOS Safari. This because various sites push one site to iOS and a much more limited one to just about anything else (or just toss the desktop site at anything non-iOS). It is like a repeat of t

    • by cgenman (325138)

      Check the bottom-right section of their home page for some changes to their collection methodology. They seem like they have their heads on the right way about the data they're receiving, though it makes me increasingly sad for the mutilation of browser agent strings.

      http://www.netmarketshare.com/ [netmarketshare.com]

  • These numbers seem odd. Android has the lion's share of the smartphone market but is getting only a fraction of the browser usage. I do wonder though, i've used about:debug on both my phone and my Nook to set the ID flag thing to "Desktop" (because so many sites of mobile views that are absolute crap.) Does that mean that i wouldn't show up in their numbers at all? I wonder how many other geeks, the people who are probably the heaviest users of the web on smartphones, have also done the same thing?
    • by yelvington (8169)

      The graph is crap. Note the lack of any explanation of methodology -- or even a clear explanation what's actually being measured.

      Actual measured usage of the Web by mobile devices (i.e., phones and not including tablets) puts Android collectively slightly ahead of the iPhone. Rim has fallen to about 4-5% and everybody else is not worth talking about. The reason Blackberry scores so low is that most Blackberry devices suck at Web browsing. They're still very good email tools and that's what they're used for

    • by hitmark (640295)

      That, or they have it masking as iOS to get the more worked on mobile site.

  • Does it matter? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by engun (1234934) on Tuesday January 03, 2012 @11:42AM (#38572450)
    The fact of J2ME being widely available, is quite distinct from the issue of it being widely targeted. I can think of several reasons for why J2ME is irrelevant.
    1. Feature phones aren't really suitable for sophisticated apps. Most power users have already migrated to the next gen touch phones (Android, IOS) or at the very least, Symbian. Those who stick on with feature phones probably don't use custom apps in the first place.
    2. There is no proper marketplace for apps comparable to Android or Apple. This makes it difficult for the average user to obtain new apps, even if he/she were to actually want to use an app on their feature phone (which they probably don't).
    3. Ultimately, the J2ME support may be relevant only to the phone manufacturer, in order to provide some bundled apps, like a calculator or something. Without a market place and given the hurdles (lack of user interest, severe incapability of phones) there's little incentive for developers to program for it.

    Therefore, why would J2ME's wide availability be relevant?
  • Apparently, some of their clients are: Microsoft, Apple, Nokia, Opera...

    If you monitor Apple.com your sample might overestimate the number of iOS browsers, maybe even count iPods and iPads as phones...

    I'd rather trust the Nilsen analysis (Android 40%, Apple 28%, RIM 19%, MS 8% of the smartphone market)

    • I'd rather trust the Nilsen analysis (Android 40%, Apple 28%, RIM 19%, MS 8% of the smartphone market)

      If you consider only smartphones, you're leaving out Wi-Fi tablets, at least if MightyYar is right [slashdot.org]. Apple sells a 3.5" tablet (iPod touch) and a 9.7" tablet (iPad), and apparently those far outsell their closest Android-powered substitutes.

    • by jo_ham (604554)

      The Nilsen analysis only counts the US market, however.

      In the UK the marketshare is different (Android and RIM are almost swapped over - Blackberry is still really popular here among women aged 16-25, and teens in general due to BBM), with increasing Android share over time.

  • I upgraded from a feature phone to a real smart phone about four months ago. As more users make this migration, this statistic is going to change.
  • by Kagetsuki (1620613) on Tuesday January 03, 2012 @12:36PM (#38573102)

    There is basically no common API, compatibility with different versions is totally unpredictable, and the development tools are across the board awful. JavaME is crap and it should be ignored and forgotten.

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