How to run your Java apps on Android devices

There are numerous people who have decided to stick permanently with their J2ME phones. This is simply because they do not want to lose their favourite Java apps. An old friend I hooked up with yesterday has a similar experience. He had to stop a particular activity because he couldn’t get the Android version of the J2ME application.

By default, Android devices cannot run Java apps(.jar or .jad). Many of you might as well be looking for a way to run your favourite Java apps on your Android phones. There are two “personally tried” methods you can apply to get this done:

NetMite
Netmite is an online service that helps you convert your .jar/.jad apps to the .apk file extension which is recognized by Android.

This is the first service I tried and it worked perfectly for me.

Follow the following instructions to enjoy Netmite:

  • Visit Netmite for android’s website here
  • You need to first of all download the Java app runner for Android to your device. Without this installed, no java app will run on your device even after you’ve converted it to .apk. So, Download it now. Then install it normally on your Android device.
  • Get the .jar/.jad of your Java app on your computer and upload here. Or just copy the URL of your .jar/.jad file and paste it in the space provided on Netmite’s Conversion page.
  • Your .jar/.jad app should now be uploaded and converted to .apk. Upon completion, your .apk extension will download.
  • You can then install your converted app to your Android device normally.

Jbed 1.20 for Android
Jbed 1.20 is an Android app which allows you to install and run Java apps. This approach is easier, preferred and recommended, at least from my experience with the two. JBed 1.20 can run on Android 1.5 – 2.3 devices with each version having it’s Jbed 1.20 version. Select the download link of your Android device below to download Jbed.

Once you have downloaded and installed Jbed 1.20, all you have to do is to install any .jar/.jad file into your device.

NOTE: This app doesn’t appear as Jbed in your apps list, instead it is simply named “Java”.

You will not be able to use the normal Android installer to install your .jar/.jad apps. This is because Android is built to install only .apk files. So, I suggest you navigate to the directory of your .jar/.jad file using any “File Browser app”, and click on it. You will be asked to “Complete Action using…” 

Select “Java” from the list of apps displayed. You will be warned that the app you are installing is untrusted. Just “Continue Anyway” by clicking on “OK”.

To launch your newly installed app, you will have to first navigate to “Java” in your apps list, and the select the exact app you want to launch.

Conclusion
I prefer installing my J2ME apps with Jbeb 1.20 instead of the Netmite online service. I just don’t buy the idea of first uploading my .jar files and then downloading my .apk files. The process is a bit long for me. I prefer just installing my .jar files directly. Also, I have noticed that apps installed with Jbeb 1.20 perform better.

Do expect a more comprehensive comparison between the two methods any moment from now, but as for now I prefer Jbed 1.20.

Apps I Have Installed

  • Opera mini 5
  • Dictionary 4.1
  • Dictionary 2.4
  • lm countdown
  • and some others

You may not enjoy 100% effeciency on all converted apps, depending on your device. One issue you may experience has to do with screen size. On my tablet some of the apps just open in the top left corner while some others supports full screen.

You don’t have to miss the experience of your old java apps (especially those that don’t have Android versions) any longer.

Try the above and share your experience. Do not hesitate to comment if you have any challenge with the process.

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8 comments

  1. does it run java apps that are instant messengers like ebuddy properly, the old windows mobile had that problem, the apps are suspended when you background the emulator, thereby requiring you to re-sign in when you bring it back to foreground

  2. By default, Android devices cannot run Java apps

    Shocked!

    Android no be one of these unbranded Chinese OS na !

    So, what would it take to have Android supportJ ava apps natively? The young surely nedd to grow to the Symbian level..

  3. Thank you Oluwatobi for your informative article. I have been trying to install gtmobile app and some other java apps on my sgs2 but to no avail. Now I have a step to follow.
    Keep on the good work!

  4. Nice summary. I’m just hearing about NetMite for the first time. I’ve tried jbed earlier- just out of curiosity but later uninstalled it.
    Why would anyone want to run java apps on Android? Opera mini is available on Android, same goes for the dictionary & ebuddy. I think the platform is filled with variety of apps to choose from. There’s no need for java support.

  5. @Martinkem, It should; Will do my best to try it out and feed you back soon.

    @Ernest Ojeh, There are some J2ME apps that do not have android versions; especially the non-common ones. I have met people who have been craving for this. So, people have reasons to run java apps on their android devices.

    Thanks

  6. @Eye.bee.kay

    By default , Android devices cannot run Java apps

    The truth is Android does not need to support java because of the abundance of apps of different categories in the google market and other unofficial Android app stores. In fact there is hardly any category of app available for java that is not available for Android.

    If you are an Android user here and there is a java application you are missing in Android that is/was available for your java phone, put the name of the app here together with its function and I will help you with an alternative app. Please no local apps and games. Also I won’t help with any app that would enable you circumvent operators billing systems.

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