The increasing use of mobile platforms for application deployment provides new opportunities for information systems architects, but with these opportunities come a number of challenges. The wide range of different types of mobile device, their operating systems, form factors, language runtimes and browser markup make it difficult to deploy generic mobile applications that work reliably and efficiently in all situations. It seems that in many cases there must a trade off between providing a quality user experience and delivering content that is not tailored to a specific type of device. However there are some software tools and architectures that can help us to minimise this trade off. In this paper we evaluate an approach to this problem using a Java Micro Edition based smart client, given generic presentation properties via J2ME Polish and communicating in a platform neutral way using XML messaging. The context of the prototype implementation is a mobile learning system that uses a range of media types in its presentation. This paper describes the software architecture, the key design and implementation issues and an analysis of the performance of the system in realistic connection contexts.