Sprint has announced that they are relaxing the restrictions on Java applications on future devices, starting with the Instinct s30.
When Sprint and Nextel merged, the companies decided to leave Nextel Java “open”, albeit with restrictions on the end-user uploading content to the phone itself. Nextel phones need to have a hacked Java loader to upload unsigned applications. Sprint phones however have supported open Java, albeit with restricted access to key APIs for GPS and multimedia.
Starting with the Instinct s30, all developers with have access to the following APIs: JSR 120 (messaging), JSR 135 (multi-media), JSR 75 (File and PIM) and JSR 82 (Bluetooth). You will not need to have Sprint digitally sign your application to access these protocols.
However, the coveted JSR 179 (for GPS) remains locked down by Sprint. You will still need to have your phone unlocked via (the free) Sprint’s developer program to use unsupported GPS apps on your phone. This limitation stifles the ability for third-party developers to offer navigation apps on Sprint phones, without selling them on Sprint’s software store.