Sony Corp. has given Sun's PersonalJava a boost by announcing that Sony will use and distribute the software platform, and that the two companies will work to build Java applications for digital home entertainment products.
PersonalJava is Sun's software platform designed for running Java applications on small consumer devices like TV set-top boxes and hand-held computers.
The collaboration between the companies, subject to definitive agreements, will include Sony incorporating applications based on Java technology into its advanced digital AV (audio visual) products and Sun creating PersonalJava software development tools for Sony.
Sony has already started using Java in its Web site. Now, Sony wants to use Java to create an open architecture for the home entertainment network environment, where users can take advantage of a seamless interaction of computers, AV equipment and digital TV, said Akikazu Takeuchi, president of
Sony Corporation's Software Platform Development Center, in a statement.
The convergence of the entertainment, computer and television industries is speeding up as cable companies use television set-top boxes to let consumers flip back and forth between the Internet, regular television, and games.
Sun's Java and archrival Microsoft's Windows and Windows CE are going head-to-head in the convergence market.
Software companies are eager to get into this market, which couples the vast consumer audience with the power of computer technology to offer interactivity and precise measurements of exactly what users are doing online and what advertising they respond to, say industry insiders.
"This is the holy grail for advertisers," says Marty Levin, director of sponsored programming for the Microsoft Network, at any industry conference in New York today.
Sony also makes set-top boxes for Microsoft's WebTV Networks Inc.
PersonalJava and Windows CE were both picked in January to supply the operating platform for Tele-Communications Inc.'s (TCI's) set-top boxes. This was widely seen as a way for TCI to prevent Microsoft from getting the same hegemony in the set-top boxes as it has in PC operating systems.
Today's vote of confidence from Sony, an undisputed leader in the consumer marketplace, was a big win for Sun, executives from Sun said.