IBM releases new, 6.1.1 version of great Midlet runner J9; now, it’s fully compatible with Google Maps!

UPDATE (04/04/2007): Handango also hosts IBM J9 6.1.1; the links are: hi-res VGA; low-res QVGA. Note that there is no trial version offered in there.
(End of update.)

Ever wanted to run the same midlets (small Java applications) on your Pocket PC as on your mobile phone? Ever wanted to use the great alternative Web browser Opera Mini or the great mapping software Google Maps on your Pocket PC? Read on!

It was over half a year ago that IBM released the last, 6.1.0 version of their well-known Personal Java / Midlet environment J9 (read the tutorial here).

As with the previous version, the distribution isn’t available on major Pocket PC software resellers like Handango; only on IBM’s official download page. You will need to register yourself in there in order to be able to download the environment – Personal Profile (PP) if you need to run smaller, PP-compliant (!) stand-alone Java applications (NOT Java applets inside Pocket Internet Explorer / Internet Explorer Mobile – IBM J9 has never supported them!) and the MIDP 2.0 version if you want to run midlets like the above-mentioned two "killer" midlets, Opera Mini or Google Maps. Note that the Midlet version, as with the previous 6.1.0 version, comes in two flawors: a VGA and a QVGA one. If you have a VGA device, get the former.

After downloading (make sure you also get the installation instructions PDF file and don’t mistake Windows CE 5 for Window Mobile 5 – you’ll need the latter only), execute the file (it’s been downloaded to c:\DownloadDirector\) and extract c:\Program Files\IBM\WEME\runtimes\61\wm50-arm-vga-midp20\ (VGA MIDP), c:\Program Files\IBM\WEME\runtimes\61\wm50-arm-midp20\ (QVGA MIDP) or c:\Program Files\IBM\WEME\runtimes\61\wm50-arm-ppro11\ (Personal Profile). Transfer the contents of the (unpacked) bin and lib subdirectories anywhere on your Pocket PC (note that the installation instructions instruct you to copy these two directories under \J9\MIDP in the main storage. This isn’t needed: a storage card will do too) and, then, do what “Installing and running a demo MIDlet†(the MIDP version) or “Running a demo application†(the PP version) states. Note that you can (and, if you plan to install many midlets, should!) still use the registry import script I’ve provided (see the “My registry script†section in my previous tutorial) for 6.1.0 to greatly ease midlet deployment; as with the previous version, make sure you change all occurrences of “\\SD Card\\J9-MIDP†to the current path of your J9 home in it before importing.

Screenshots of the new version running Opera Mini 3.0.6540 Advanced (also see this article; the JAR file is available for download here; simply download it and click on it after transferring it onto your PDA and importing my above-mentioned registry import file if you don't want to deploy it by hand, in the very awkward way the official IBM documentation recommends) on my WM2003SE VGA Pocket Loox 720: 1 2; on my WM5 VGA Dell Axim x51v.

Note that, when I tested, neither the “mainstream†nor the “high-end†version of Google Maps worked with neither the latest Intent Midlet Manager (THE Midlet manager for Pocket PC Phone Edition users; do read the article if your current PPC PE device is not the latest one and has an old(er) ROM on it) nor J9 6.1.1 (screenshots: former; latter; another screenshot of Intent running Opera Mini 3.0). Other users, however, reported success and flawless execution with GMaps – with both J9 6.1.1 (as opposed to the very slow 6.1.0) and Intent (click the links for user reports).

Unfortunately, the new version still doesn’t make use of the WM5 softkeys, unlike the new version of Intent Midlet Manager, in which the whole interface, all yes/no questions etc. (and, of course, all apps like Opera Mini) work just great via the WM5 softkeys.

Please note that I haven’t tested the WM5 compliance of the new Personal Profile J9 version (its WM5 compliance was (still?) rather problematic with 6.1.0) – now that Toonel, the, for Pocket PC users, most important Personal Profile-based Java application, received a native Windows Mobile version, there’s no point any more in using the Java-based one on the WM platform.

UPDATE (12/31/2006): AximSite frontpage

It's compatible with WM2003(SE) too; it's just that IBM only lists it as WM5-compliant.

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