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J2ME, Feature Phones & Nokia Devices

J2ME, Feature Phones & Nokia Devices

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Is J2ME dead or dying?

How many times have we heard this for the past 3 years or so? Sadly the answer is: Yes! 

Unfortunately there is no active owner for the J2ME standard and thus no new innovation around J2ME for quite some time (MIDP 2.0 came out in 2004, 3.0 never really materialized). Android is/was the biggest innovation since and became the unofficial successor to J2ME.

Well, if J2ME is dead what about Feature Phones? Should we care about them?

The answer is: Yes!  very much so!

Features Phones are still selling in millions and still beats Android sales in the developing world.Recently Nokia shipped the Asha series devices which are quite powerful and capable pieces of hardware, they are very impressive. Nokia’s revenue is driven mainly by the Feature Phone market.

There is a real battle in the developing countries between Feature Phones and Android devices, Feature Phones are still cheaper and more efficient where Android has more/better content (apps & games).

How long will it take Android to catch up? we will see… 

In the meantime there is money on the table and a real opportunity for developers to make some money (and gain loyal users who will migrate to Android or other platform at some point)


To win over the competition or at least to maintain its dominate player position Nokia must bring new quality content to the devices, it’s not enough to ship cool new feature phones, the new phone needs to connect to facebook, twitter, gmail, whatsapp and have all the new cool games/apps Android has and more.

So how should you write your apps for the cool new Nokia Feature Phone if J2ME is dead? Luckily there is an option Codename One ;-).

In Codename One You have 1 Java API which is the same for J2ME, Android, iOS, Blackberry and Win8.

Below are some of the J2ME highlights:

  1. Facebook Connect –  did you noticed there aren’t many social apps on OVI?

    There is a reason Facebook uses oauth2 which is a huge pain without a browser API, this is solved and working in Codename One.

  2. Java 5 features – You can use generics and other Java 5 features in your app and it will work on your J2ME/Blackberry devices. You don’t have to limit yourself to CLDC.

  3. Rich UI – If you know or knew LWUIT (Swing like API), well Codename One UI is effectively LWUIT 2.0.

  4. Built in Asha skins and themes

The most important thing is the fact that your skills are not wasted on an old/dying J2ME API, by joining our growing community and writing the next amazing app your skills can target the emerging platforms of the present/future.

Notice: This post was automatically converted using a script from an older blogging system. Some elements might not have come out as intended…. If that is the case please let us know via the comments section below.


  • Anonymous says:

    That is a good possibility to develop j2me functionalities/apps through codename one, but also i don’t think that j2me is really dying…

    Have a look:



  • Anonymous says:

    j2me is already dead, you would get laughed at by any serious developer if you told them you still programmed in it.

  • Anonymous says:

    but i would not tell them 🙂

  • Anonymous says:

    We actually agree with that, we try not to list it anywhere on our site because of that (even though we still support it).

    I recently had the pleasure to meet one of the guys working on the feature phone platform for Facebook (based on their Snaptu acquisition) and he surprised me by saying that they still see growth in the feature phone version… This is pretty amazing, I would have expected decline but this is apparently still to come.

    To be clear, I would never target J2ME as my main platform but if we can get there for almost free that could be interesting.

  • Anonymous says:

    Just show the numbers and they will stop laughing, also, it is way easier to get a better spot for your app at Nokia OVI store than the others

  • Anonymous says:

    Hey everyone,

    Shai really cool read by the way. It’s funny how the situation changes from country to country, Where I live in, you still see lots and lots of people with Nokia s40 phones even though Android, iOS and Windows Phones are getting a whole lot more common. I think it’s great you guys support the J2ME through Codename One even if not to the level of the other platforms because it gives us as developers the possibility to reach an even bigger market without the effort of having to learn it or the obligation of targeting as a main platform.

    I think you guys are doing a marvelous job with Codename One and I really hope to see it grow and support a whole lot of different stuff there’s still left to explore. Keep up the great work!

  • Anonymous says:

    Isn’t it a simple case of demand? Just because a technology is good, doesn’t mean it will last forever. If the majority of the market is no longer supporting or working with J2ME, then developers will disappear and products will disappear. Of course, as the article says, there is still a market for J2ME software, the market is just a fraction of what it used to be.

  • Anonymous says:

    Samsung is now prepared to compete with Nokia Asha in the feature phone market with the recent release of 4 new full touch devices, the Rex 60, 70, 80, and 90.

  • Anonymous says:

    In this part of the world, Nigeria, j2me is still alive but whether it will remain or not is the question.

    Nokia and Tecno are making huge sales quarterly in Africa, with over 10 million sales in one quarter.

    My app got over 2000 downloads in few weeks of release to the Nokia Store, without any publicity.

    If Codenameone really wanna support Asha devices, I think they should implement some of the Asha specific APIs.

    I had to create a native app for my Nearest Locator mobile app in other to fully maximize the Asha LPS feature.

  • Anonymous says:

    Does Codename One support the new Asha platform in Asha 501?

  • Anonymous says:

    Yes, it supports all asha series

  • Anonymous says:

    its sad to know that j2me may soon go into oblivion. i love the m3g based 3d games which i think are simpler to make compared to open gl es which is quite popular now. I was hoping to release a good number of 3d apps based on m3g on j2me platform in Nigeria but i guess i’have to port to android os or IOS and i am not happy about that. I love m3g on j2me,i wish it was available on android or Ios instead of open gl es.

  • Anonymous says:

    I wouldn’t say that with full confidence. Javascript wasn’t considered a serious language to develop except to make a website more interactive. Look at it now, it’s part of a serious platform tool to develop mobile apps that will allow a single source base to run on the two most popular devices, iOS and Android.

    Why is that? because it allows a single source base to run on multiple platforms. For any business int he industry, this is economical. Codename One offers the same leverage using J2ME SDK. So for those with the skills set already, this is a viable option to use when one is consulting or providing a mobile solution to a client.

    However, the risk is, how is J2ME being kept up to date. Who is maintaining the SDK to keep up with the moving technology.

  • Anonymous says:

    We don’t use the J2ME SDK.

    We use Java 5 (J2ME ends with JDK 1.4 subset) and we add a lot of features that don’t exist in J2ME (while still maintaining compatibility). I would not target J2ME alone but Codename One allows some developers to have their cake and eat it.

  • Anonymous says:

    i want to be a developer and i think j2me sdk is the best app to start with i have on my tecno device(tecno t531) but i need to learn how to use it pls help me i know you are advanced programmers

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