Sun's MID: the ultimate in wireless security?

By Kevin Reichard (Send Email)
Posted Apr 18, 2001


NEW ZEALAND -- Sun Microsystems' Mobile Information Device (MID) profile is being touted as the most secure and dynamic wireless development platform to date. MID is the best possible wireless platform that anyone can be developing on, states Francesca Mabarak, a senior analyst in the Yankee Group's Wireless Mobile Technologies division.

The result of 3 years of co-operation between Sun, Nokia, Motorola, and a global team of Java programmers, MID is Java that has been streamlined to suit mobile applications. As a development platform it is fast emerging as a potential leader in the wireless arena.

"MID is the best possible wireless platform that anyone can be developing on," states Francesca Mabarak, a senior analyst in the Yankee Group's Wireless Mobile Technologies division. "I've been looking at a lot of different middleware models, and Java is the most robust ... it provides the most manageability, scalability, and interoperability."

According to Nicolas Lorain, senior project manager of wireless Java application programming interfaces (APIs) at Sun, Java promises mobile environments a plethora of advantages from increased security to more addictive user experiences. Unlike WAP, an unfamiliar mark-up language for most developers, Java already has an established community of developers and a rich support structure.

Enhanced graphical support is another benefit that MID has over other wireless programming languages (such as WAP's Wireless Markup Language and i-mode's Compact HTML). Gaming applications are fast becoming a driver in the wireless market and this makes MID's graphical strength a bonus, opines Lorraine.

Security is another department in which WAP is lacking, he claims. "With WAP, there's the security hole at the Web gateway. With Java, you have the possibility - as soon as you have packet-based networks - to use standard Internet protocols, which means you can use SSL [Secure Socket Layer] end-to-end between the cell phone and the server."

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