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I've heard this tossed around few times, but never really a source. The wiki page says it was designed for home appliances, but never really references a toaster. Anyone have a source?

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I dunno... I don't think toasters would need a JVM. If there's a NullPointerException, would I at least get my toast back? –  FrustratedWithFormsDesigner Feb 18 '11 at 18:33
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@Frustrated Yes, I believe the popup(); is in a finally block. –  NickC Feb 18 '11 at 18:56
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@Renesis: That made my Friday awesome! –  FrustratedWithFormsDesigner Feb 18 '11 at 18:59
    
@Renesis - good one :) –  rreeverb Feb 18 '11 at 21:41
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3 Answers

up vote 19 down vote accepted

Originally it was designed (by Sun's James Gosling) for embedded systems, in particular mobile devices such as e.g. cell phones. See e.g. http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/java/javase/overview/javahistory-index-198355.html

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So it was invented for a cable remote control. +1 for the real answer. :) –  Robert Harvey Feb 18 '11 at 18:59
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The thing they were thinking long and hard about was "how can we execute arbitrary downloaded code, and still be in control". –  user1249 Feb 19 '11 at 9:37
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No, but I have to admit, sometimes it makes me feel like it was.

Embedded systems was one of the target markets though, there were even some attempts at developing processors that would run native Java bytecode.

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en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jazelle (for ARM processors) –  mmyers Feb 18 '11 at 18:49
    
@mmyers Yeah, I remember that. There was something similar planned for Transmeta Crusoes too. It never quite caught on though. –  biziclop Feb 18 '11 at 19:02
    
www.ajile.com make a CPU running a JRE in embedded hardware. They are great for embedded, as the java code is very reliable. Power consumption is less than a watt, at 100% CPU, down to nanowatts when asleep. –  Tim Williscroft Mar 4 '11 at 1:04
    
@mmyers en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MAJC "...processor was targeted at running Java programs..." –  gnat Feb 17 '12 at 18:44
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My pen runs java. LiveScribe. I think I first started to see Java being used around 1996 or 1997? All my memories of it at that time were that it was big on the write once run anywhere deal, running on any device, but particularly in a browser as applets. Then I recall Microsoft came in with a competing JVM that "extended" Java to run specific Windows functionality. Not conclusive, but hopefully interesting.

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