Nokia’s Smart Move: Scalable Network Application Package



From a Nokia press release (emphasis mine):

Los Angeles, California. May 12, 2004 – Nokia today premiered the first multiplayer Java games based on its SNAP Mobile solution at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). Developed together with Sega Mobile, the SNAP Mobile demonstration features multiplayer gaming for Java games, in addition to key community features such as friends lists, presence, and instant messaging. The Sega Mobile game demos are the first example of how SNAP Mobile brings the technology utilized in the N-Gage Arena gaming community to mass market Java terminals.

SNAP is going to blow the lid off of J2ME MIDP 2.0 development.  Not only are mobile game developers going to be able to easily create several different types of multiplayer networked games (ranking, freestyle, challenge, etc), but we’re going to be able to take advantage of all of the extra bits that come with the platform.

Here’s another choice snippet (emphasis mine again):

The first demonstrations of SNAP Mobile will be implemented in MIDP 2.0 on Series 60, and support for other platforms will follow. The SNAP Mobile client development kit is expected to be made available for Java game developers free of charge in the third quarter of 2004. The server components can be licensed by mobile operators and other interested service providers or they can opt for a hosted community service. With either option, service providers will be able to create, build and brand their mobile gaming communities and drive data revenues and customer loyalty.

Hey Nokia: Smartest. Move. Evar!  It sounds like they’re going to release the libraries and API docs on Forum Nokia and let ideas flourish rather than try to keep them locked down.  It’s a perfect strategy too: a small mobile gaming startup creates a killer game.  It includes some multiplayer aspects that require the Nokia server components.  All of a sudden they’ve got to license the server side stuff directly from Nokia or make a deal with a carrier.  Everyone is free to create a killer game, but if you need the server side stuff, Nokia’s going to be making a buck one way or another.

I look forward to taking a look at SNAP sometime in Q3.  I know that it has me excited, and I’m pretty sure that Nokia has the ear of a lot of J2ME developers.


Note above that they are planning to roll out SNAP first on Series 60 MIDP 2.0.  That means that they see the big picture.  If they were planning on keeping SNAP on the N-Gage they would have not mentioned which platform they would deploy on first.  What does this mean?  It means that when released, SNAP should work on pretty much any S60 that has MIDP 2.0.  That means that a 6600 or a 7610 should be able to run SNAP out of the box.

But wait, does that mean that initial versions of SNAP will not work on the N-Gage or N-Gage QD?  Yep.  They’re MIDP 1.0, which lacks things like a Bluetooth API, decent socket support, and has a whole lot of limitations that are going to make backporting SNAP a pain in the butt, if not impossible if they want to keep it feature complete.  Of course the Bluetooth API is optional, but can be found in all Series 60 MIDP 2.0 devices to date.

Does anyone else smell an N-Gage 2 featuring S60 v2.0 and MIDP 2.0 coming in the next few months?  I think I do.  Jim at All About N-Gage thinks it might be a possibility too.