The PhoneGap project does pass through some of the data that wouldn't normally be available in the iPhone 2.0 browser. The newest version of Safari has built-in connections to the geolocation data -- which PhoneGap included before it was available. PhoneGap also hooks into all of the major parts of the iPhone API, including SMS, contacts, raw files, the camera, and the accelerometer.
The PhoneGap project knits together a good number of programmers with a wide range of talents. Most of the activity is devoted to the iPhone, although there's some focus on Android and the BlackBerry.
The biggest problem with using PhoneGap is the way that Apple will reject some but not all applications developed with it. (Check out my experience.) Many programmers feel that Apple rejects the PhoneGap code almost automatically, accusing PhoneGap apps of linking to some private APIs or somehow misusing UIWebView. Many theorize that Apple may just be trying to cripple cross-domain development. No one can be certain, but there is a long list of accepted iPhone applications that began with the PhoneGap starter project.
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