It's probably not worth arguing whether a byte code interpreter is truly a native application; that debate is best left to computer science theoreticians. They're certainly more native than Web applications running on the local browser. They usually behave with as much snap as a truly native package, so practical people don't need to worry much about this argument.
iPhone app dev tools compared
|Licensing||Mobile platforms supported||Native iPhone features supported||Pros and cons|
|Ansca Corona 0.3||Free Early Adopter version available; pricing TBD||iPhone||Files only; camera and accelerometer are forthcoming.||+Uses Lua, a well-known language for building Flash animation and Flash games. +Adds some extra features to Flash to simplify some animations. -Some glitches common to beta implementation. -No support for 3-D yet.|
|Appcelerator Titanium Mobile 0.5||Free Early Access beta program||iPhone, Android||Geolocation, accelerometer, local files including contacts and photos||+A nice collection of libraries makes it simple to whip up a stack of menus for browsing data. +Deep integration with the underlying Apple libraries produces more standards-compliant results. -Sometimes it's not clear what you do in HTML and what you do with Titanium's framework.|
|Rhomobile Rhodes 1.1.1||Free under GPLv3; commercial licenses, $500 per app||iPhone, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, Symbian, Android||Geolocation, camera, contacts; accelerometer, SMS, push, audio capture, and video capture on the road map||+Ruby on Rails on your phone. +Deep cross-platform support. -Client library is missing some fat mechanisms like XML that developers often rely upon. -It isn't always a no-brainer to port things to the iPhone.|
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