Android's fragmentation and Microsoft's and RIM's battle for relevance

Mobile developer study reveals challenges for Google, Microsoft, and RIM in their efforts to topple Apple's mobile supremacy

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RIM and Microsoft's uphill battle for relevance

As much work as Google has cut out for it, it's nothing compared to what the other three mobile platform vendors -- Microsoft, RIM, and HP -- face: When asked if any other platform can catch up to Apple or Google, 62 percent of respondents said no.

Digging deeper into their answers, it's clear the respondents are more interested in the Microsoft and Nokia partnership over Windows Phone 7 versus what RIM and HP are planning for their mobile platforms. Respondents said the Nokia partnership could position Microsoft as a more serious competitor to Apple and Google. However, even within this group, when asked what poses the biggest risk to the success of Microsoft's mobile platform, 46 percent cited "not enough time." The only higher-ranking risk was a perception that Google and Apple are just too far ahead.

What's more troubling is that Appcelerator helps developers build native, cross-device mobile applications from a single code base for iOS, Android, and BlackBerry. Yet these developers can't find the time to target anything other than iOS and Android, even with a tool that addresses multiple platforms from a single code base.

These developers are saying the marginal cost of tailoring the single code base application for the RIM platform is outweighed by the value of delivering the next feature for iOS and Android users of their application. Ostensibly, if Appcelerator supported Windows Phone 7 and WebOS, the developers would likewise be as disinclined to tailor the single code base for them.

Given that Appcelerator developers are using a platform designed to support mobile heterogeneity (it essentially converts HTML, AJAX, PHP, and Ruby code into native code), it's very telling that even these cross-platform developers are in fact focused on just two platforms: iOS and Android.

Follow me on Twitter at SavioRodrigues. I should state: "The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies, or opinions."

This article, "Android's fragmentation and Microsoft's and RIM's battle for relevance," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Savio Rodrigues's Open Sources blog and follow the latest developments in open source at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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