Zebra DEVPODCAST hosts Dan Quagliana and Mark Jolley are joined by MicroEJ’s CEO Fred Rivard and VP of US Sales, Robert Diloreto.  ​​With developers moving to develop on the Android platform, MicroEJ  saw an opportunity to add app capability to other embedded devices to provide additional value and to future proof them. By building a small application platform to fit into scalable devices like printers and to re-use and scale apps across a broader fleet of devices, MicroEJ created an on-board service on Zebra Link-OS printers to allow full Java and Android applications to run on the printer. With growth and rise in mobile phones, and as Android continues as the preferred platform along with Java growth, MicroEJ, alongside Zebra can help developers develop faster and easier with Java applications as they build for printers.

By opening up the application space to all Java developers (10 Million) rather than limited to printer experts who know ZBI or Link-OS developer can write apps with low-overhead device, from a processor perspective. This is opening up a previously restricted embedded device to outside developers so they can treat it almost like a mobile device. But this does raise questions around boundaries and restrictions.

To address the security issues, through high level certification, MicroEJ has built a virtualization sandbox which separates core print from the app layer keeping separate apps from each other. While Third party apps introduce perceived security concerns, the trusted MicroEJ Virtual Execution Environment (MicroEJ VEE) is a safe and secure virtual execution environment supported today by more than 8 million software developers and engineers. The developer community can limit the risk. The solution also does not require a printer to build app for one. The platform separates this development from the core competencies keeping it secure as they are obligated to go through the APIs.

While this is not yet available today on commercial Zebra products, MicroEJ and Zebra are partnering to finalize these details. It is expected this will be available on select Link-OS products in the near future.

As Dan Quagliana points out, Zebra spent many years building out the Link-OS suite of products, building software and solutions to satisfy broad customer needs across various verticals. Similarly, Zebra has a Custom Applications Group that solves custom issues our customers run into. This new solution is now empowering the Zebra partner community to solve more of these issues. Zebra internal developers can take advantage of standard libraries like IoT connectivity protocols like MQTT to streamline the development process. MicroEJ’s platform on Zebra Link-OS printers is a really exciting solution driving new use cases, enabling workflow optimization while extending use cases and printer life-cycles.

Want to learn more? Listen to this podcast or visit Zebra and MicroEJ in person at Google Next 2019 and at Zebra’s APPFORUM in Las Vegas in October 2019. 

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