October 26, 2004 3:25 PM PDT

Start-up Seven addicted to Java

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SAN FRANCISCO--Software start-up Seven Networks is teaming with Sun Microsystems to overcome one of its chief obstacles: a dearth of cell phones that can run its e-mail application.

Redwood City, Calif.-based Seven announced Monday at the CTIA Wireless IT & Entertainment 2004 show here that it will work with Sun to bring its e-mail client to the next generation of Java 2 Micro Edition (J2ME)-enabled cell phones. Seven sells its e-mail application to cellular carriers which, in turn, can offer the service to its subscribers. The service allows customers to access their e-mail on cell phones.

The first Java phones to offer the e-mail service are expected to be released in the first quarter of next year.

Kent Thexton, co-CEO at Seven, believes that e-mail on cell phones will go from a convenient feature to a critical tool. The problem thus far has been that cell phones haven't been able to use the company's application.

"The devices haven't been there," said Thexton, adding that there are only a few phones on the market that have the processing power to run Seven's e-mail application. The Treo 650, which PalmOne launched Monday, is one such device, and it will come with Seven's e-mail application.

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