From the Editors: Sailing the winds of mobile change

September 15, 2011 —  (Page 1 of 3)
Winds of change in the mobile development space are blowing as furiously as Hurricane Irene, which took down electricity at SD Times' Long Island-based offices. (But thanks to mobile phones and devices, we were still able to communicate!)

Look back at the incredible changes in August 2011. Google will be acquiring Motorola Mobility, which is being seen mainly as a patent play. That aside, the deal gives Google its own hardware platform to better compete with the capabilities of the iPhone and sets a higher bar for Motorola’s many competitors.

Meanwhile, Apple—the resignation of ailing Steve Jobs aside—has hinted about exciting new capabilities in iOS 5. The faithful hope that the updated operating system will close the gap with Android for developers, who prefer Google’s open approach to Apple’s walled garden.

Hewlett-Packard—continued executive bungling aside—announced it was discontinuing its efforts in the mobile and tablet space, effectively bringing the webOS system it acquired with Palm to end-of-life. Given the high profile of HP’s investment in webOS and in the TouchPad launch, this represents either incredible vision or astonishing ineptitude.

Let’s not forget Microsoft—lateness to the game aside—which was expected to have some important announcements surrounding Windows Phone 7 at its Build 2011 conference. We’ll have more on that in the October issue, as well as on

So what do all these machinations mean for you, Mr./Ms. Software Development Manager?

If you’re committed to only one of these mobile platforms, none of this matters. (Well, it does if you were foolish enough to bet on HP and webOS.) But, if you are committed to only one of these platforms, you are missing the big picture.

Keep your eyes on the cross-platform application development platforms that allow you to “write once, run anywhere” in the mobile world. There are some 20 of them, each supporting a multitude of programming languages and an emulator, and they can use the native distribution format of each mobile phone system.

Industry analysts and pundits agree that developers should not be writing platform-specific applications, since no one device “owns” the market. Broad reach is critical for enterprise applications. Don’t deny 30% of your customer base the opportunity to interact via the device of their choice simply because developers wanted a “native” experience on one platform. Cross-platform is the way to go as we sail these winds of change.

Related Search Term(s): Apple, mobile, Steve Jobs

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03/01/2012 12:47:00 AM EST

Your entry seems amolst as if it's an attack on patents in general. All patents, in any field, are in fact to protect intellectual property (i.e. thoughts) and thus provide commercial incentives to innovate. (Well, in theory anyway.) It's also not a problem that software patents incorporate prior ideas as long as they don't duplicate them; most advancements are evolutionary not revolutionary.However, patents are not supposed to be granted to obvious ideas such as online catalogs or O/R mapping and this is where the system seems to be failing lately. A particularly clever and original implementation of either of these may be patentable, but it would only narrowly protect that solution and not the whole problem it addresses.The situation isn't quite as bad as it seems though: Getting a patent and actually enforcing it are two different things entirely. Right or wrong it seems that when the patent office is in over their heads, they tend to err on the side of approval and let the courts sort it out.


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