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Rise of the Androids



Alex Handy
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February 15, 2011 —  (Page 5 of 8)
Naeem Zafar, president and CEO of Bitzer Mobile, said his company has a solution for those data woes: a data-wrapping framework that allows developers to push existing enterprise desktop applications out to phones via a translation tool. Those applications don't store any local data and use a direct pipeline to the server, keeping sensitive information out of the flash cards on phones. Bitzer's solution, however, works on all three major phone platforms, and is thus not a solution limited to Android.

BeyondSoft's Price said that Android has been adding support for enterprise needs, like remote wiping and Exchange support.

“Enterprise Android is still relatively new. Exchange ActiveSync was an ad-hoc solution as of Android 2.1. Remote Wipe wasn't formally added to the platform until Android 2.2. This is largely due to how Android is built; because the code is open and ready for everyone to inspect, there has to be a high level of scrutiny when it comes to enterprise integration," he said. "In the long run, this is a good thing, but in the short term, it means Android teams will generally need more talent to build enterprise applications."

Of course, most enterprises aren't concerned with a single phone platform, but rather with all of them. Customer-reaching applications can't penetrate markets if they can reach, at most, 30% of all users. Thus, Android development in 2011 may not be arriving as a new king, but as a third or fourth leg on an existing platform strategy.

“Each mobile platform that we're seeing has built-in compatibility issues," said Price. "iOS and Android are nearly polar opposites when it comes to a technical level. iOS runs in native code (Objective-C), whereas Android's Dalvik is really virtualized and is now JIT-compiled.

"Windows Phone 7 adds further to this complexity, relying heavily on Silverlight to develop apps. All three approaches are totally different and make it virtually impossible to take a desktop app and hit the recompile button. Apple is coming closer between Mac OS X and iOS, but even that is just starting to scratch the surface."



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