The tool--called Visual Age for Embedded Systems--will allow developers to create applications that connect embedded devices, such as car navigation systems, factory robotics, and water meters, to corporate networks via the Internet.
Using this technology, a water meter, for example, would automatically report usage rates back to a city's water department. In the networked home of the future, a clock radio could be programmed to turn on the coffee maker in the morning, IBM said.
"It takes the code developed and shrinks it down and customizes it to the specific target device," she said.
Thomas estimates there are about 20 development tools now available for embedded devices, including Wind River Systems' Tornado for Java and others that support different languages. But IBM's tool is the only one that supports team development, allowing a group of programmers to track the project and share code, she said.
Thomas believes IBM is the first major vendor that has created a development tool for the emerging embedded-systems market. The beta version was released today and is available for download here.
IBM executives said the development tool, based on IBM's VisualAge for Java, features remote debugging, testing and performance analysis tool, as well as several Java Virtual Machines (JVMs) that execute the Java code.
IBM executives said a final version of the embedded Java tool will ship this fall.