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Java Platform, Micro Edition (Java ME) is a Java platform, developed by Sun Microsystems (now part of Oracle), for mobile devices and other embedded systems. Java ME is one of the most ubiquitous mobile platform in the world.
Java ME runs on a wide range of feature phones, smartphones, pocket PCs, PDAs, set-top boxes and even printers. Java ME theoretically employs the Java mantra of write-once-run-anywhere, which means that code written for one device can run on all similar devices.
Java ME is made up of two sets of libraries, which are known as the connected limited device configuration (CLDC) and the connected device configuration (CDC). The CLDC is designed for significantly constrained devices characterized by low processing power, storage space, RAM and graphics capabilities. Devices that are best suited for the CLDC can have a CPU clock speed of as low as 16 MHz, a ROM size as small as 180 KB, RAM as small as 192 KB and zero graphics. CDC devices can be more powerful. Examples of such devices include smartphones, pocket PCs and PDAs.
Java ME applications are most often associated with tiny applications called MIDlets, which are just one group of applications written using Java ME. MIDlets, however, are actually applications written using the mobile information device profile, which sits on top of the CLDC.
An aspiring Java ME developer would normally need the Java ME software development kit (SDK). It contains all the necessary tools needed for Java mobile application development, including the API, debugger, compiler and emulator. To simplify the development process, developers may use the SDK in conjunction with integrated development environments (IDEs) like Netbeans and Eclipse. These IDEs allow developers to take advantage of GUIs, which allow drag-and-drop and point-and-click procedures, to design the layout of the Java ME application’s own GUI. Coupled with the SDK, IDEs allow users to see how an application would appear on a device, through emulators.