Eclipse has proven to be a flexible and popular application integrated development environment (IDE). It can be trimmed down or built up, depending on the plug-ins a developer requires. Cut Eclipse down to its minimum, and you get the Rich Client Platform (RCP).
Eclipse is written in Java. Therefore, RCP is really a Java-based application platform. It offers features like a user interface, a plug-in extension environment, and various other services that any application can exploit.
RCP also delivers a more robust platform than Java alone. Thus, developer-scan still target a common base—but one that's more powerful. Because the RCP uses the same base as Eclipse, it's possible to mix application plugins with Eclipse IDE development. For example, a deployment plug-in might be a useful addition to a network management application.
Also, the proposed embedded RCP (eRCP) subproject targets a more limited,-minimum hardware platform. Its display has a resolution on the order of 176 by 220, a processor comparable to a 100-MHz ARM9, 8 Mbytes of RAM, and 16 Mbytes of flash. Typical connectivity is Wi-Fi or a cellular connection. This is pretty much what you'll find on a smart phone.
The graphic support for eRCP is eSWT, a subset of the Standard Widget Toolkit (SWT). It includes eUpdate, also a subset, that offers remote software updates for eRCP and installed plug-ins.
Eclipse (and hence RCP and eRCP) are built on OSGi's service platform, which provides dynamic module invocation and installation. Developers of headless devices may require only OSGi support and not the added graphical support of eRCP.