Is Java suitable for mobile devices

Gluon wants to bring Java 8 and 9 to mobile devices

Gluon has announced a standalone Java VM for iOS and Android. The company, which among other things offers a cross-platform framework based on Java for Android and iOS, is reacting to the end of RoboVM. The tool was discontinued after the company of the same name was taken over by Xamarin, which was subsequently bought by Microsoft. So far, Gluon has been using the AOT (Ahead of time) compiler from RoboVM on iOS, which translates Java bytecode into native iOS programs. On Android, Dalvik or from Android 5 ART (Ahead of time Compiler Android Runtime) translates the bytecode on the device into native apps.

Java 8 and 9 instead of Apache Harmony

Gluon reacted in autumn to RoboVM's announcement that it would end its open source strategy: iOS developers could use different JVMs, including an iOS port of the OpenJDK. Now Gluon is developing its own Java VM called Gluon VM, which is based on the OpenJDK 9 Mobile project. In addition to the end of RoboVM, the opening of Java 8 and 9 for mobile developers is also a reason for their own implementation. The current Java VMs are based on Apache Harmony, which was officially terminated in 2011 after IBM turned its back on Harmony and instead became involved in the OpenJDK project. This means that Apache Harmony has largely remained at the Java 6 level.

As of the upcoming Android N, Google is also turning away from Apache Harmony and relying on OpenJDK, which is not only more up-to-date, but also has clearer license conditions. However, Google has not yet announced which version forms the basis. The announcement of the Gluon VM already reports successful tests of JavaFX apps that use the Java 8 Streams API on an Android N preview version.

The announcement does not yet give an exact schedule. The Gluon VM is to become an integral part of Gluon Mobile, which is available in different versions, the smallest of which is free of charge, but displays a nag screen.

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