SavaJe Adds T-Mobile To List of Investors
By Carlo Longino, Wed Jun 23 15:00:00 GMT 2004

The upstart Java OS company says T-Mobile has backed the company, alongside Vodafone and Orange.

SavaJe is a key part of the new operator alliance Eric Lin reported yesterday, with its three carrier backers using the company as a pawn in their push to get handset vendors to be more responsive to handset customization demands.

Vodafone, Orange and T-Mobile now own 26 percent of the company, which is still working to bring its Java-based operating system to market. But it's hard to really see SavaJe becoming a major force, and it looks like the carriers are using it as a big stick to lord over device makers. Realistically, it's doubtful the carriers would completely shift away from big-name handsets to white-label handsets from OEM manufacturers featuring just the carriers' brand and this unknown OS.

Brands like Nokia, Motorola, Sony Ericsson, Samsung and Siemens still carry a lot of cachet in the market, and should one or two carriers in a country drop the brands in favor of its own devices, it would be quite a competitive advantage to other carriers that continued to sell them. That's not to say SavaJe devices will never see the light of day -- expect to see some initial models from the carriers just to prove to the big boys that it's a viable product, and to try to force them into line.

It's also doubtful that the vendors will let themselves get into such a dire situation. Nokia, probably the most hard-line (or hard-headed, depending on how you look at it) vendor, appeared to have backed down from its position when it publicly made up with Vodafone earlier this year, signalling a shift in feelings on the matter. It's hard to see this new alliance of carriers, along with SavaJe, as little else than bargaining chips -- but they should be effective ones.