New Mobile Service Architecture will include IMS Service API

(This article has now been published on the Ericsson Mobility World Developer Program website.)

The Mobile Service Architecture (MSA) specifies a standardized set of APIs that allows developers to access various capabilities – from sending SMS messages to accessing the address book information – on mobile phones. Ericsson is a member of the expert group that is drafting the upcoming second version of MSA, which will include an IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem) API.

Java Micro Edition (ME) developers were treated with an overview of the current and forthcoming versions of MSA on May 8, in technical session held by Kay Glahn, consultant at Vodaphone, and Erkki Rysä, technical manager at Nokia.

Glahn said that improving and extending the current MSA will make more advanced smartphone features available to Java ME developers, as well as reduce ambiguity and fragmentation in the current MSA.

According to Glahn, the interoperability that MSA creates in the Java-enabled phone market, will allow developers write applications for a bigger market and thereby make more profit. MSA makes it easier to both develop applications and deploy them on different types of handsets. Manufacturers and operators, meanwhile, will benefit from a larger developer community that turns out more applications, since this means both increased demand for MSA-compatible devices and telecom service usage. Finally, Glahn argued, end users will get a benefit from the wider choice of available applications.

”There will be benefits for the whole industry, for all players in the ecosystem, which is something that is very good for the developer community,” Glahn said.

Unlike the first version of MSA (specified in JSR-248), MSA 2 does not only cover Java feature phones (CLDC phones), but also more advanced phones (CDC phones). MSA 2 will specify three different sets of API – a limited, a core, and a full set – for different types of phones, from low-end phones to advanced smartphones.

The final draft of a new version of MSA (MSA 2) is being drawn up in Java Specification Request (JSR) 249 and is being expected to be published in the fourth quarter of 2008.

Since MSA 2 will be fully backwards compatible with the already existing MSA 1, Rysä’s message was clear:
”There is no reason not to start developing devices now because there are already MSA-compliant devices out there.”

Magnus Olsson, responsible for Java ME standards at Ericsson, and member of the JCP executive committee

(EC) for Java ME says that MSA 2 will be much better adapted to market needs than MSA 1.

“The MSA initiative learned from past experience that rather than creating a large set of APIs, one-size-fits-all instead adapt to the available set of compelling device features while adding the benefits of reachability into new market segments,” Olsson says.

“A layered set of APIs will enable deployment on a significant increased market segment with mobile devices previously too limited for MSA. Feature phones and advanced smartphones will benefit from a consistent set of core APIs that can be extended with additional APIs for specific device features adding capabilities such as location, enhanced multimedia and advanced communication services based on IMS.”

Included in MSA, is JSR-281 IMS Services API, with Ericsson as the specification lead. The API will allow developers to create applications that integrate with IMS networks, which is telecom industry’s preferred standard for delivering converged multimedia services. The JSR work have now been delivered to the JCP (Java Community Process) organization and is to be presented to the JCP executive committe for the final approval ballot.

“JSR-281 has been received with great appreciation by the industry, with operators already starting to show an interest how the new IMS API allow developers to benefit from using IMS, so there is a demand for compelling IMS applications that developers now can meet,” Olsson says. “The IMS API provides access to a core set of IMS features that will allow developers to create converged multimedia applications such as presence, push-to-talk, and video conferencing without having to deal with the more complex groundwork and underlying details of the IMS technology.”

By Olle Blomberg

Article about the Mobile Service Architecture (first version):

JCP page about JSR-249:

JCP page about JSR-248:

JCP page about JSR-281:

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4 Comments on “New Mobile Service Architecture will include IMS Service API”

  1. [...] I just read via Olle’s blog JavaWire, about MSA version 2 (JSR 249)… I haven’t kept up with JSR 249 for a while; so I [...]

  2. Hicks Says:

    Including IMS service API in a mobile is very good will help users a lot.

  3. Håkan Says:

    This doesn’t mean anything since JSR-281 is proposed as conditionally mandatory, and the condition is that if there is an IMS API it must be JSR-281. It doesn’t state that all MSA devices must support JSR-281.

  4. mobile phones that have built in cameras are my favorite because they can capture those special moments and events ;-’

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