Wireless app development marching on

In a trend bucking the economic tide, enterprise wireless development is expected to increase in the coming year

The battered economy is not stopping wireless developers from building enterprise applications for devices, according to an Evans Data study detailed on Monday.

The survey of more than 400 wireless developers worldwide in the commercial and corporate enterprise realms found that 94 percent of corporate developers expect development of wireless enterprise applications to either increase or stay the same in the coming year. Evans' Wireless Development Survey, completed in December, revealed that 47.6 percent believe development will increase, while 46.4 percent expect it to remain constant.

[ Also in the mobile development field, Sun has built technology for deploying widget applications on Java ME. ]

"I think the biggest driver on the enterprise side is the fact that many of the wireless applications that are being developed for the enterprise are improving productivity, which of course is key," said John Andrews, Evans president and CEO. Commercial developers, meanwhile, are driven by revenue, he said. Among the types of applications being built are location-based services and games, Andrews said.

Strongest expectations for growth came in the Asia-Pacific region. A mere 6 percent of developers expect wireless application-building to decrease.

Revenue potential was cited by a quarter of developers as the most important consideration when selecting a wireless platform as a deployment target. Twenty-one percent identified bigger marketing opportunities in selecting a platform. Only 15 percent named platform openness as the most important consideration.

Two thirds of commercial developers expect average revenue per user to increase in 2009.

Java Platform ME (Micro Edition) was the top platform of choice in the survey, with 35 percent choosing it as their deployment target. But in the last survey six months ago, 40 percent had targeted Java ME. Microsoft's .Net Compact Framework dropped to 33 percent after being the platform of choice for 43 percent of developers in the last survey.

Market adoption of Windows Mobile remained flat, with 33 percent targeting it as opposed to 31 percent in the mid-2008 survey. Apple's iPhone jumped in the survey from 8 percent eyeing it six months ago to 20 percent in the new survey.

Google's Android rose to 18 percent in the new survey after registering with 7.5 percent of developers in the last survey.

Other findings of the survey included:

* That SOAP/XMP RPC is being used by twice as many wireless developers as REST.

* That 40 percent of wireless development projects take three to six months to complete, and 60 percent are done in fewer than six months.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.