Open source solves the mobile app dev dilemma

Early-adopter developers feel forced to choose mobile platform 'winners' -- but you don't have to

Enterprises are still in the early days of mobile application development, but the growing evidence suggests they should focus time and resources on cross-mobile-device applications. The problem is that with so many mobile devices and operating systems in play, IT just can't build for even a sampling, never mind the whole lot.

However, open source and open technologies provide IT a way out of this dilemma.

[ Read InfoWorld's review of cross-device mobile SDKs. | Discover what to expect from HTML5. | Keep up on key mobile developments and insights with InfoWorld's Mobilize newsletter. ]

Choosing among the many mobile platforms

There's no doubt that building native mobile applications, targeted at and leveraging the native device capabilities, can produce very compelling user experiences. However, the question invariably boils down to which mobile platform should your enterprise build mobile application for.

The iPhone OS is definitely a leading contender. There's an argument to be made for growing adoption of iPhone OS devices, as Morgan Stanley suggests the iPad is cannibalizing the netbook market.

Google's Android, which now accounts for nearly half of U.S. mobile Web traffic, is also a major player. However, it's interesting to note that Motorola, a key Android partner and device manufacturer, is rumored to have acquired a mobile OS company, Azingo. What's more, Motorola co-CEO Sanjay Jha iss quoted as saying:

I've always felt that owning your OS is important, provided you have an ecosystem, you have all the services, and you have an ability and the scale to execute on keeping that OS at the leading edge. And I continue to believe that at some point, if we have all of those attributes, that owning our own OS will be a very important thing.

Hewlett-Packard, fresh off its Palm acquisition, plans to further invest in WebOS and develop new tablets using the platform.

RIM is now planning to release its own tablet based on the BlackBerry OS, most likely version 6, to target the consumer market. This makes sense for RIM as it has many of the ecosystem and scale capabilities that Motorola's Sanjay Jha deems a requirement for owning an operating system.

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