The world's largest mobile phone manufacturer and Europe's largest wireless operator have launched an initiative to simplify Java standards for mobile devices. The partnership is aimed at helping developers create software for multiple Java-enabled devices, thus providing users with a wider choice of applications.

Under the initiative, Nokia and Vodafone Group hope to drive the development of specifications for an open standards-based mobile Java services architecture.

While the companies don't plan to introduce any new API specifications, it does intend to establish a number of new component Java Specification Requests and clarifications to existing specifications in a move to define a consistent Java API services architecture, according to the companies. This unified services architecture, they said, will enable Java-based applications to run on mobile devices from multiple vendors.

The architecture will also include security enhancements for services such as the delivery and administration of software components to mobile devices over-the-air, resulting in cost savings for mobile software maintenance.

Moreover, the initiative seeks to harmonise Java licensing terms in conjunction with Sun Microsystems.

Several leading players in the global mobile phone industry have already signalled support for the initiative, including the mobile phone operators Orange and T-Mobile International, and handset manufacturers Siemens and Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications.

The objectives and responsibilities of the unified mobile Java services architecture will be aligned and co-ordinated with several organisations, such as the OSGIi Alliance, the Open Mobile Alliance, the Open Mobile Terminal Platform and the World Wide Web Consortium.

All specifications achieved by the initiative will ensure backward compatibility with the MIDP (Mobile Information Device Profile) environment, according to Nokia and Vodafone.