SANTA CLARA, Calif.--Nazomi Communications Inc. today officially launched a universal Java accelerator chip, which offloads Java bytecode instructions from host microprocessors in wireless systems to speed applications by 15-to-60 times. The accelerator chip also saves battery power.
The JA108 accelerator is targeted at new Java-enabled mobile wireless applications, such as cellular phone handsets. "The chip is so simple that it looks like an SRAM device on the memory bus," explained Jay P. Kadmar, chief operating officer and the head of marketing at the Santa Clara-based startup.
The JA108 is based patented Java acceleration technology, which enables Nazomi to speed up portions of the software in hardware circuits. The JA108 chip performs all bytecodes for Java, with 169 executed in hardware and the rest (14%) software. The device is the first in a series of planned accelerators, which will be called the KChip family.
"Around the world, all wireless carriers have made Java their platform of choice," Kadmar said. "Like we have Windows on our PCs, Java is the platform of choice on phones.
"The number of Java applications deployed in handsets as well as in the support infrastructure of phones is growing exponentially," said the company's COO. "Every little thing--where it is a game, a little piece of news, or stock ticker--are handled by small Java applications, but they are critical in the design of phones. This has been the challenge of the handset makers," he told SBN.
Many first-generation Java applications for cell phones have been implemented totally in software using program interpreters on central processing units, but now handset makers are looking for ways to improve performance for network carriers, which want to increase more profitable data services. But custom chip designs for Java acceleration can take 12-to-24 months to develop, according to Kadmar. However, the JA108 accelerator can be quickly used on the memory bus of handsets to speed Java, he added.
The number of hardware-assisted "Java mobile devices" is increasing, according to Nazomi, which was started in 1998 by former managers from Sun Microsystems Inc. In 2001, about 5.2 million of the 178 million Java mobile devices had hardware acceleration, with the rest executing Java in software only. By 2005, 505 million of these mobile devices will be hardware assisted with only 216 executing Java applications in software only, the company predicted.
The JA108 universal Java accelerator is housed in a 10-by-10 mm 128-ball microBGA or a 7-by-7 mm microBGA package. The U.S. list price for the accelerator is $5.59 each in quantities of 10,000.