ARM software boosts speed of Java OS for handhelds

SavaJe Technologies Inc. will license ARM Ltd.'s Jazelle software to increase the speed of its SavaJe XE operating system for handheld devices, the companies said on Wednesday.

Using the SavaJe XE OS with ARM's software will allow handhelds to run full Java applications at 10 times current speeds, said SavaJe spokesman Tim Cox.

New versions of the operating system will be developed to incorporate the Jazelle software, but Cox said SavaJe has not yet decided whether the OS will be completely redesigned or whether a Version 1.5 will be developed. SavaJe XE was recently launched after a six-month beta test.

SavaJe XE is an operating system designed specifically for Java applications on ARM processor-based handheld products such as Compaq Computer Corp.'s iPaq or Hewlett-Packard Co.'s Jornada range. It could also be used in embedded applications like set-top boxes, said Cox.

The operating system has been simplified to speed up processing and includes an integrated JVM (Java Virtual Machine), said Cox. This allows applications to run faster than on a standard OS with a JVM on top, he said.

The Jazelle software will allow SavaJe XE to speed up further by "offloading some of what the JVM has been doing down to the chip level. They have developed a way of executing chunks of Java byte code on the motherboard," said Cox. This will allow devices to run high-performance J2SE (Java 2 Platform, Standard Edition) applications on handhelds at a suitable speed, he said.

Target markets are manufacturers of both handhelds and embedded-application products like set-top boxes, and enterprises that have bought products and want to do more with them, he said.

The new, upgraded OS with Jazelle included will be targeted at the same customers, he said.

ARM designs chips for handheld devices, including cell phones. Its designs are used in processor cores by companies such as Intel Corp., which makes the StrongARM processor used in the iPAQ.

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