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Nokia gets more firmly behind Eclipse

Finnish phone maker will take the lead in developing tools for mobile applications based on the open-source platform.

Nokia is hoping to attract more developers to its platforms through its involvement in Eclipse, an open-source tools project.

The phone maker has increased its level of participation in the project by becoming a board member and strategic developer. Nokia will take the lead in developing tools for mobile applications based on the Eclipse platform. One of its aims will be to extend the Java-based integrated development environment, or IDE, to have full support for J2ME (Java 2 Platform, Micro Edition).

As part of the move, Nokia will donate some of its own code to Eclipse and dedicate resources to generating new tools for the platform. The company wants to be able to create applications based on two Java specifications--MIDP (Mobile Information Device Profile) and CDC (Connected Device Configuration)--although in the longer term it also intends to use Eclipse for other languages.

While many of Nokia's phones are J2ME compatible, others are not powerful enough to run Java applications. In creating Eclipse-based tools to build applications for all its phones, Nokia is increasing the number of potential developers for its platforms.

"By working closely with Eclipse, and proposing a new open-source mobile development tools project, we will provide the more than 2 million registered developers in our Forum Nokia program with complete integrated tool packages optimized for Nokia platforms," Pertti Korhonen, Nokia's executive vice president and chief technology officer, said in a statement.

Nokia has had its own tool set for its phones for some time, but last year the company became interested in Eclipse as a platform and announced support for the Eclipse IDE in its own software development kit and tools.

Nokia joins an increasing number of companies developing different tools based on Eclipse, with a certain amount of one-upmanship taking place between some companies.

While Eclipse itself is written in Java, many tools for other languages have been developed using the platform, and even some tools not related to programming, such as BIRT, are in development.

Jonathan Bennett of UK Builder reported from London.