All About Symbian - Nokia (S60) and Sony Ericsson (UIQ) smartphones unwrapped

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Old 25-02-2008, 06:32 PM
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The future of mobile development?

Michael Mace has written an interesting post on his blog Mobile Opportunity about the fall of (native) Mobile Applications. The basic thesis of the post is that native mobile development is declining because of platform fragmentation, issues around certification, and marketing problems. Michale goes on to suggest that mobile development itself is not dead, but that it will increasingly move to the web as a platform. Read on for more.

Read on in the full article.

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Old 25-02-2008, 07:09 PM
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Flash Lite & KuneriLite?

I think Flash Lite and KuneriLite should also be considered. It's a smart solution for those problems now and in long term.

cheers,

N.
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Old 25-02-2008, 09:21 PM
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Just have a look at the iPhone. Apple said "web-apps are fine, they can do everything you need, you have better security, bla bla bla". What happened? Most people hacked their iPhone so that they could use native applications. And Apple? They try to release an SDK as fast as possible to keep customers satiesfied and prevent them from hacking iPhones. The reason is simple: You even want to use a smartphone in areas without coverage, and I think we all know that those areas will keep existing for many years. And things like gaming (especially in future, whit high res displays and multiplayer games) will suck too much traffic and need a low response time (high and constant frame rate).

And who said native apps are dead? An Ex-Palm employee (want Palm OS 6 or Foleo anyone?), what an irony...

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Old 25-02-2008, 09:51 PM
tomsky tomsky is offline
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I think what all of the web-platform proponents are missing is that these are only really good for webby sorts of things. Google reader is good for reading news on the internet, so it doesn't matter that you have to be hooked up to an internet connection to use it. Likewise posting photos on the internet, or watching youtube: both internet activities that we accept we need a connection to use.

But when you want to find a contacts address or check your calendar, you don't want to be firing up an internet connection every time. Smartphones have exceeded their initial brief: to provide additional services while on a phone. People now want to use them outside of phone coverage and usage patterns. But the web only goes so far in giving us useful applications - sometimes we want to be off the grid.

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Old 26-02-2008, 11:12 AM
rbrunner rbrunner is offline
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Always forgetting to consider the market

For me it's astonishing and also funny to watch how many of those "smartphone platform" discussions fail to mention the most important: the *market* for smartphone applications.

That market has numerous problems, and fragmentation is only one of them. The size of the market is *tiny* so far, because of several reasons already discussed many times here. And because the market is so small, no real pressure can build up.

Let's make a thought experiment: Let's assume that for whatever reason people start to buy many more smartphones and software for them like crazy, so that everybody with half a brain notices that there is big money in this market.

And then, wham, growths stalls, and consumers get very angry, beccause they hit the wall of fragmentation.

Do you really think the market would not be able to sort the fragmentation problem out? If there is *real* pressure from customers and the lure of *big* money to make?

Certainly not, if you ask me. And also, facing real pressure, there would certainly be other viable options than the (from a technical/architectural point of view) completely crazy "web applications on smartphone" solution.

Like Unregistered 2 posts up I watched very closely what happened with the iPhone: There I can see that already a little pressure from demanding customers can go a loooong way. Already moderate market demand forced Apple to change course!

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Old 26-02-2008, 02:23 PM
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Rafe,

Good analysis but I have to disagree somewhat with your first two bullet points.

> Good developers can of course get round this by allowing for this in the way they develop, but precisely the same thing can be said about other development methodologies.

Speaking as a developer of both native run time apps (including J2ME here) and mobile web based apps, I'd say sure, browsers offer a fragmented platform, both for simple markup and also for more sophisticated interactive elements (AJAX and Widgets). But the key difference is in general terms browser differences can be comparatively "easily" routed around on the server using automated device capability databases and associated tools. The most notable being the famous WURFL combined with WALL (or WALL4PHP in my case) - this auto adapts mobile web pages to the device accessing. It will be a small leap to make this work for widget/AJAX differences (it's a bit early for this development to have occurred yet).

Native/J2ME apps are a whole different ballgame. One can't auto-adapt an app to thousands of different devices without much effort, if it's native or J2ME. Reportedly some 50% of time and budget of J2ME developers goes on porting for example. Porting Symbian to Windows Mobile to Android to.... would also be a big undertaking. With mobile web and adaptation technologies as above, you can successfully hit thousands of different device models with little effort.

2nd point:
> widgets are not always compatible (e.g. S60's WRT versus Widsets vs Yahoo Widgets).

I don't think this is a good comparison. Widsets and Yahoo Widgets are not really proper, device integrated widget platforms - they are fake platforms that rely on a J2ME or similar download. True widget platforms are WRT, Opera Mobile 9.5's, iPhone, etc. Though there are differences amongst them, they are generally aligned around Opera's initial standards push via W3C's widget standards efforts (early days yet on that). And, as mentioned above, widgets will be much easier to auto adapt than separate native binary applications.

However, widgets will not be a universal platform for a long time I think. They offer great potential through their ease of development, to millions of web developers, but developers targetting those millions of consumers with older or lower end handsets will still basically only have simple mobile web pages or J2ME with all it's fragmentation problems, for the forseeable future.

Cheers
Alex
phonething.com

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Old 27-06-2008, 06:25 AM
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Lightbulb Discovery?

Hi

Nice article. I'm not sure what you mean exactly by discovery, and if it means what I think you mean, then...you're quite correct off course.

I have been working on the discovery side for a number of years, and the problem with universal is that it has to be designed at universal levels. Perhaps, large corporations are already researching these discovery tools, but it is being kept under close wraps as trade secrets.

The trends we are continually witnessing are wave trends, following the money trends. These are market and product trends - usually of a very-short lifespan nature. I'm interested in thoughts around the future trends, those which won't change easily, as they might represent paradigm shifts.

Discovery poses as a paradigm potential. For example, as an introductory: what if handsets fell away completely? What would happen to all the apps and how would they be presented in a mobile environment without the integrated device we know now? How would we be communicating, using which tools, and which technologies? What would society do if their mobile empowerment (read social empowerment) was lost somehow? And last, which is the cheapest, simplest, easiest to use, most acceptable form of communication one could hope for in the next 5 years?

Just a few ramblings, but hopefully it got the ball rolling on this subject.
 

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