Mobile applications developers are discussing whether to band together in a loose alliance. The topic was discussed by attendees at Sun's Java Mobile & Embedded Developer Days Conference where the developers considered whether they should speak with a single voice.

The idea is that developers must deal with issues such as fragmentation in features, behaviour, security policies, and deployment policies and could form an alliance, said Terrence Barr, Sun technical evangelist for the mobile and embedded developer community.

"We call it the mobile developer alliance and it's essentially a developer activism group," Barr said. "It's just a grassroots thing. We haven't thought about it too much. The idea is to bring developers together to give them a common voice and try and work on some of the fragmentation and issues that the industry has."

The mobile developer alliance is envisaged as an industrywide effort and not Java-specific. Developers, Barr said, have not had a consistent, uniform voice in facing issues.

Among the problems developers face is having to slightly rework applications for each of the many phones, Barr said. Every phone, he said "has certain quirks that you have to deal with, and if you're trying to cover 80, 90 percent of the installed base out there it becomes very painful because you're literally producing hundreds of slightly different versions of the same application," he said.

The alliance could serve as sort of a citizens' voice, but the exact mode of operation is still up for discussion, Barr said. Agreement on high-priority issues that developers want to make progress on would be a main focus, as well as trying to establish relationships with players such as carriers and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

"It's not necessarily [about] battling your enemies but it's about getting everybody on the same page," said Barr. "At the end of the day, [developers] are the ones who have to make all this stuff work," he added.