Everybody loves the idea of mobile. As people and businesses increasingly learn to love smartphones, the mobile application development market and other smartphone-reliant industries keep on improving and intensifying all the same. Looking back to the old times when people didn’t know that the world is spherical, it’s amazing (and almost funny) how today’s technology can shrink the world into the palm of our hands.
Making the mobile OS world even smaller are emerging platforms designed to stimulate growth in this sector. While the big players have been identified, the mobile industry is spawning its own sub-system of developer platform providers that bridge iOS, Android and other OS’s to extend access to end users. It’s a space of flourishing innovation and bright ideas, cloud capabilities and centralized solutions, such as those prompted by Appcelerator, fresh off a Series C funding round. Mobile developer platforms are the result of long-standing technology and visions of the future, building new opportunities for a fresh take on the consumerization of IT.
There’s no telling where this market will end up, when consolidation will take over or how the big players will ultimately benefit from PaaS in this sense, but we’re here to explore the budding solutions that stand before us, ready to take on this new mobile world.
appMobi announced the availability of MobiUs, a web app browser developed specifically to run apps written in HTML5. It’s among the first mobile browsers to imbue native app capabilities to web apps and websites, integrating powerful APIs from PhoneGap and appMobi to give web apps the same performance, look and feel as native apps. It can function within other mobile browsers or run as the mobile browser itself.
Android apps show promise
We all know that Android runs across a good deal of devices. While it surpasses iOS when it comes to number of app available in their respective online marketplaces, it’s not guarantee that apps developed for Android are going to run across all of its devices. This is just one byproduct of Android’s biggest downfall: fragmentation.
Fortunately, Apkudo, a spinoff of NICTA, Australia’s Information and Communications Technology Research Centre of Excellence, developed a free testing service that will allow Android developers to see how their apps will function across 300 Android devices. The tool will be officially launched at the AnDevCon, Android Developer Conference on Nov. 6 in San Francisco.
Android is proving to be a promising platform for other initiatives under its parent company as well. Google TV made some pretty cool updates last week, looking to simplify its user interface, improve search and optimize YouTube access. Most importantly for developers, Google TV has been opened up as a platform to encourage app integration around yet another of Google’s products.
Mobile security and network efficiency
Mobile app development should not only focus on popularity, but security as well, looking specifically to security and network bandwidth consumption, says Oracle. The storage giant found, after surveying 3,000 mobile device users worldwide, that there’s a dramatic increase in mobile broadband data usage, indicating a growing willingness to use mobile banking and shopping apps, and to share location. However, only 32 percent of the respondents believe their device is secure.
From said Dan Ford, vice president of product marketing for Oracle Communications: “For software developers, Oracle’s overall findings translate to needs to focus on security and efficient use of networks. Applications cannot be overly chatty and consume an inordinate amount of network bandwidth. As the [telecom] operators and as Apple and Android continue tobuild out their application stores, I believe that increased scrutiny will be placed on the applications that developers build.
The world needs more mobile developers
Alongside the proliferation of smartphones and the rise of the internet, the computer industry needs more mobile developers, as well as content writers and animators. Freelancing is, without a doubt, one of the best ways to work in this day and age. You get to do what you gotta do, generally on your own time. It’s comfy working without those annoying heels and skimpy uniforms, you know.
There’s been a few initiatives to encourage mobile development even at the app level, and one popular mechanism for raising awareness is through contests. The city of New York looks to mobile app developers to leverage big data to make its metropolis efficiently appealing, while others like Layar turn to mobile app developers to promote revolutionary technology. Whatever the case, mobile app developers are the life blood of this emerging ecosystem, joining consumer, device and service in one piece of software.