Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Tuesday 26/06/2001Sun and ARM have long had the chumminess of two friends who don't meddle in each other's business, yet have a common enemy. This respect and enlightened self-interest appears to be blossoming into something stronger, now that they've announced that they'll be working very closely together in the world of embedded mobile processors -- the chips in your phone, in other words.

Tuesday
26/06/2001 Sun and ARM have long had the chumminess of two friends who don't meddle in each other's business, yet have a common enemy. This respect and enlightened self-interest appears to be blossoming into something stronger, now that they've announced that they'll be working very closely together in the world of embedded mobile processors -- the chips in your phone, in other words. Here, ARM has some 75% of the market. It also has Jazelle, which might sound like some horrendous new exercise regime but is in fact a mode in the ARM processors where Java is dealt with in hardware. Sun knows a good opportunity when it sees it, and so will share future Java nous with ARM to make sure the chips do a good job. Sun was once in the chip business itself. It still is in workstations, where it remains the single significant redoubt against Intel's golden hoard. But in the embedded market, its range of Java chips -- microJava, picoJava and so on -- made about as much impact as a snowflake on a walrus. But if you're using a Java chip primarily because it's very good at other things, which ARM is, then the Javaesque bits are a free bonus. And, Sun clearly thinks, people will use them. Perhaps they will, perhaps they won't. They won't have to -- all Jazelle chips can also run ordinary ARM code. In terms of getting its name in the box, however, Sun may have managed as useful a coup as Microsoft did when they got PC-DOS onto the IBM Personal Computer.