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Mobile Apps: The Way Forward

It’s been 4 years since the launch of the iPhone and by now we all know exactly how it has revolutionized the mobile phone industry. After the launch of the iPhone, it was obvious that the industry leaders were destined to take certain actions in order to even hope to compete with the iPhone. The situation today is such that almost every third person has a smart touch phone. While there are two main competitors in the field of smart touch phones ie Android based phones and iOS based phones, the possibility that companies like Microsoft are going to play a disruptive role in the future cannot be ruled out simply because Microsoft and Windows are household names and Microsoft has some of the best talents working for it and it has a lot of cash to market its OS. That said, the Blackberry has a loyal customer base and yet still it is Nokia which is the number one mobile phone handset company.

Thus the situation today is such that we have 4-5 major mobile phone operating systems and since mobile is slowly becoming the preferred way of consuming information, it becomes essential to provide consumers across different mobile phones a good experience within their mobile phone environment. Since all major operating systems are in use, this makes creating a mobile app for each of the major systems, a cumbersome, expensive and time-consuming process. You can of course pick and choose your preferred OS and simply gain specialization in that. But then you will be forced to neglect the other operating systems. And that is not exactly the ideal thing you want to do is it?

So what exactly is the way out? Here are some options at your disposal:

  1. Gain expertise in all the platforms or hire help: Neglecting any one platform is not a good idea and if you wish to project yourself as a mobile phone development company, you should have expertise in all the major OS’s. Of course, you can always be an Android specialist or an iOS specialist. But that, as I mentioned earlier, is not something you would want to do by choice.
  2. Use 3rd party tools to create your apps. There are many web-based tools that can be used to create native apps for all major platforms. One of them is called www.biznessapps.com where a person with zero technical knowledge can also create native mobile phone apps.
  3. Go for web apps: HTML 5 is a new technology on which the industry is now betting very heavily to solve the native app problem. While it is said that the HTML 5 will be standardized only by 2014, I must make one thing very clear: It exists already and the latest versions of all major browsers already support it. Thus you don’t have to wait  till 2014 if you want to start development in HTML 5 now. (By the way, HTML 5 is also giving competition to some other technologies such as flash)
  4. Hybrid approach: This is quite possibly the best possible approach and it is possible that this is the way forward although I won’t like to bet my life on it. In this approach, you create a web app and then use software such as phone gap to create a native app. Apps created using phone gap can be submitted to app stores.

There are some very obvious advantages of HTML 5 but then again there are quite a few disadvantages also. The major advantage is of course that you do not have to worry about developing things separately for each of the mobile OS.  Code everything just once and you are done. The user can simply open your mobile site in his instrument and doesn’t need to explicitly install anything in his handset. That said, most of the data is fetched and stored in your servers which make the web app slightly slow. Although the problem is solved by using the cache manifest file in your HTML 5 project (which makes your app an offline app which can be used regularly without the internet and which can be updated whenever you do go offline.) HTML 5 based web apps can still not interact with some of the phone features such as microphone, notifiers, sms, camera etc. It does however seem though that the industry has realized this problem (which is actually proving to be a major roadblock in the development of html 5 web apps) and has already started addressing the same. Mozilla is currently developing an API which will give a major boost to mobile phone development in HTML 5. The project is extremely ambitious and if successful is bound to change the face of the mobile phone industry once and for all.

In conclusion, all I would like to say is if you are already developing native apps, you can continue doing so. However, ignoring HTML 5 now will not be very healthy and perhaps you should now get into it and take early bird advantage when it becomes all pervasive.

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Article by

Siddharth passed out of NSIT in the year 2009 and started his own website development firm called Dulcet Solutions immediately. Of late, apart from his usual development work, he has started an online web development training program which is available on webinstitute.in . In his free time, Siddharth likes to write science fiction and his works can be read on his personal blog.

Siddharth has written 1 awesome articles for us at Tech and Money Making Blog

Twitter: @@sidgoyal1 | Facebook

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Deepak September 7, 2011 at 6:06 pm

I think Nokia is losing its market share now against Android phones. Latest acquire of motorola by Google will definately means to this. Hope Nokia come up with something new to compete.

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2 Siddharth Goyal September 8, 2011 at 5:16 pm

Nokia, if you remember, forged a tie up with MS and so it will soon be running Windows Phone 7. That will change the game again. My worry is that the first Nokia phone running WP 7 is taking longer than expected.

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