Many useful applications and themes come in the Java programming language, but Windows Mobile 5 devices don't include native support. Luckily, there are some free programs you can install that will allow you to run these applications and experience the benefits that Java has to offer. Developers will also have the freedom of creating customized applications and running them more easily in the software.
Java's Use on Mobile Devices
As mobile phone technologies transformed, Java Platform, Micro Edition (Java ME) became a standard for many games, themes, and other applications found on phones. Some phones come with Java games already installed and provide ways to install additional applications by transferring files over USB or downloading them from websites. Most phones typically come with the Java Virtual Machine already installed by the manufacturer.
Compatibility with Windows Mobile
Unlike some other phones, Windows Mobile phones do not come with Java compatibility right out of the box. Instead, the Windows Mobile applications use their own format and can be found on mobile application download websites. Luckily, third-party developers have made versions of the Java VM that can run on Windows Mobile 5 and give users the flexibility of using both Windows Mobile and Java applications on their devices.
Four Free Java Programs for Windows Mobile 5
Free Java VM programs for Windows Mobile are rare and can be difficult to find, but the few that are available are suitable for most users. Since Windows Mobile 5 is an older mobile operating system, it's important to note that these programs may not be recently updated.
1. Mysaifu JVM
Mysaifu JVM, offered free and as one of the more popular choices, is a free Java VM for Windows Mobile phones and Pocket PCs. The most recent version of the program was released in March 2010 and is version 0.4.8. Some of its features include:
- A small file size of 10MB installed
- Compatibility with Windows Mobile 5.0, 6.0, and 2003
- An easy to use graphical interface for loading JAR files
- Extensive customization options for users who need to use command line arguments, log events, or manage the program's memory usage
- A simple manager that lets users easily exit running virtual machines and view all running VMs in a list
2. Ewe VM
Known as a complete programming system that lets users create Java applications that can run on both mobile systems and computers, Ewe VM is a free program that has a built-in application launcher that allows you to run Java programs on your Windows Mobile device. Released in September 2010, Version 1.42 is the most recent version. Some of Ewe VM's notable features include:
- A file browser that lets you easily find and open JAR files
- A remote app loader to load apps from the Internet
- Compatibility with PocketPC and Windows Mobile 5 and 6
- Landscape mode for running programs
If you'd like to get a better idea of how Ewe works before you install it, the website has demos that run within your desktop web browser.
3. TotalCross VM
TotalCross VM by SuperWaba is another VM solution for Windows Mobile 5, but it does have some limitations. First, the program is a free demo version that will work for 80 hours of continuous use. Users can then hard reset their phones if they want to use the application another 80 hours, although this can be troublesome. Another limitation is that the VM is designed to run JAR files created using the TotalCross SDK. This may not be a problem, however, if you plan to develop your own apps using the SDK.
The current version 1.5's features include the following:
- Supports network connectivity management
- Allows users to run apps that don't have a graphical interface, such as command-line apps
- Supports encryption for improved security
- Faster performance over older versions
- A high-performance garbage collector
Available for Windows Mobile 2002, 2003, 5, and 6, PhoneMe is an open source Java VM that comes in two versions, PhoneME Feature and PhoneME Advanced. Both versions work with many MIDlets, but some higher-end Java applications may require PhoneME Advanced. Some of PhoneMe's features include:
- A simple application installer and launcher that makes it easy to manage MIDlets
- Support for installing new applications over the air
- Support for console applications, if your device has a shell or command prompt installed
- A demo JAR file in PhoneMe Advanced that let users test their personal profile settings
PhoneME can be more difficult to install than the other VMs, but the website offers tips for getting started and even creating your first application.
The Benefits of Java
Although it may seem easier to download and install traditional Windows Mobile applications, there are some reasons Java apps may actually be preferred on devices.
Mobile Java applications, called MIDlets, use two files: the JAR file that actually contains the program's resources and classes and the JAD file that contains information about the JAR file's contents. Since a MIDlet contains everything the Java application needs to run on the device, Java applications are known as being self-contained. Additionally, self-contained means that the program can only access its own classes and resources.
Since these applications are self-contained, their code runs in a sandbox, meaning the code can't affect any applications or files outside of the Java VM. This is a major security advantage over traditional applications, which can often can read and write files to a device. This additional security protects users against viruses and other types of malware that can affect a mobile device.
If you like to create your own applications or know developers who share their own creations for free, you will have an additional advantage when using Java on your Windows Mobile phone. Installing the Java VM will not prevent you from using regular Windows Mobile apps, but it will open the door to using applications not available for the platform. Some of the mentioned programs even have resources that can help you create your own apps.