The Radical Change Is Mobile, But Not Development

Om Malik wrote a post about the new mobile phones yesterday that made me realize something. We have not seen such radical change in the mobile space since the invention of mobile phones. Until recently, smart phones were really just the Palm and Blackberry. Those phones were really just good address books with email. Browsing the web was near useless. The iPhone changed a lot regarding the way people thought of mobile phones. Not only was it nice to look at, but you could browse the web. Not some minified, barely looks like the real site version, but something that looks almost identical to the actual web page. With the iPhone, we really started the mobile computing evolution.

As Om points out, we have several Blackberry phones, Nokia‘s N97 and various Android-based phones being released. This summer. Yes, there are a minimum of 5 other phones to be announced, after the “Pre” weekend, and iPhone week. However, there is a significant issue with all of this. The development for these platforms is not very standard. Thankfully, these mobile companies have thrown us a bone of the “App Store”, where we can share revenue with the provider in the hopes of making a few extra dollars a month.

Blackberry has tried to stay close to J2ME (the java mobile toolkit), while the iPhone has its own SDK using Objective-C. Because these platforms are so new, the development paradigm is a little behind. What I mean is that we have not seen any interesting shift for mobile development. Granted, many people are learning to develop applications for things like the iPhone (including myself), but there has been little else in terms of progress.

What I am asking is, what is next for mobile development? For every platform, we have seen various frameworks or even basic paradigm shifts. Even on the web, the shifting is occurring at lower levels with cloud computing and dealing with large data using things like Hadoop. I am not about to venture a guess at what is next for mobiles, and that is why I am asking you. Does anyone know? If these phones have a good enough display, will the default platform become the web?

Where do you think mobile development is going?

4 thoughts on “The Radical Change Is Mobile, But Not Development

  1. Rob,

    I believe the future of the mobile platform is web centric with device specific tie in, Google seems to be going this direction too ( watch Vic’s talk) there will always be platform specific software but with what is possible in a distributed way in browsers it’s hard to see more fragmentation actually solving users needs long term. Heard Mitchell Baker of Mozilla talk once ( about her OneWeb view and it makes sense in the grand scheme…

    Build once, adapt for context be light weight and open… browser seems to be the only way, HTML5 and browser and advances in JavaScript with hooks to device (geo, accelerometer in the Pre) are paving the way. Google Maps v3 is following this creedo

    Just my very quick two cents… Love to talk more on this some time.

    -Ben Hedrington


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