Mobile Application Development
The past few weeks have seen a huge focus on smart phones with the release of the iPhone 3.0 OS and recent announcement of the next generation of Motorola's G1 Andriod powered phone due for release later in the year and also today we see that the HTC Hero will also be released in Europe in July on the Orange and T-Mobile Networks. We've also over the past while seen the unveiling of the Palm Pre smart phone which has been developed on a linux kernel and has open-source architecture. The iPhone is obviously well ahead of the possy in terms of providing an infrastructure and architecture for both development of phone applications and the sales and payment set-up through iTunes. But that said Google are releasing tools and support systems for developers for the Andriod powered system and have announced a $10million fund for the best applications developed. At the moment, the iPhone has over 30,000 applications developed, but Google if they provide a well structured platform for developing applications (which they seem to be doing) they could well start making serious inroads into Apples dominant position. Google need to provide a platform for application developers to monetise and distribute their software, which no doubt they are doing. At the moment Palms application figures are tiny (in the 20s), but with time and the fact that they have adopted an open model should help entice developers to start creating exciting new applications.
Apple has shunned the open model and has created its own proprietary based system based on Objective C - adopting this model has garnered criticism from some quarters who see the future in open architectures - which makes sense, in terms of creating a low barrier to entry, in terms of system requirements and technical skills. Requiring developers to learn another new language in a market place where there is actual competition (not just iPhone apps) could be a big issue for the iPhone in the coming years. So much so, that some analysts see Googles approach of using Java as the cornerstone of its app development system along with providing tools and app engines to be a serious threat to Apples approach up until this point.
The mobile and Netbook space and the morphing of these into a single smart portable device will be a fascinating revolution over the next 2 years. People are becoming used to and expecting more functionality on their portable devices. Opening up the archtictures and making it as easy as possible for the development community to build ever increasing imaginative applications will be radically change how people consume information and how they connect with each other and also the forms of that connection will fundamentally change. By that is meant, mass useage of mobile social networked applications in the form of social games, networked geo-based applications social hyper-local applications and media content as well as lots more innovative ways to use people's social graph to integrate wit content distribution and connectivity.