Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Smartphone Development

Overview:  Over the past few days I have been looking at writing apps for the Windows 7 Phone & an iPhone app and I thought I would share my findings.

Development for all smartphones is done at the browser or application level.

Browser development is usually a subset of xHtml and there are issues such as on Safari using an iPhone does not supporting all the html elements and attributes of XHTML.

Application Development Run Down:
  • There are 5 big players in the smartphone OS market (palm is not 1 of them).
  • Microsoft have entered the smartphone industry with there OS "Windows 7 Phone".  Windows 7 phone is going to gain a large marketshare in the app store market.
  • Application development is big business and iPhone has had over 10 billion downloads already i.e. more downloads than people on the planet.  The app dev platforms I'm interested in are iPhone(iOS), Windows 7 Phone, Android and blackberry/RIM.
  • The smartphone market is shared between Symbian (Nokia and previously others), Android, Windows 7 Phone, Blackberry (RIM) and iPhone (iOS).
  • Symbian/Nokia sells the most smart phone units by a long way however, they don't have a nice sales and developement market for 3rd party application market like the iApp from Apple.  Additionally, users don't tend to use alot of apps or surf as much as say an iPhone or Blackberry.  Symbian may support Silverlight going forwards so from an RIA perspective this would make it pretty simple to develop and could help achieve better apps with more app writers. 
  • Android has multiple hardware manufactures that use the OS and it is owned by google, app development runs on Java and there are multiple programming languages for developing apps.  It has a open store, the OS is widely used and is a very good option for mobile developers to explore.
  • Blackberry/RIM use to be the enterprise smartphone of choice it is still a market leader but with stiff competition, it is still growing quickly in units sold (as the smartphone market grows at about 35% year on year) but it appears to be loosing market share.  This is definitely a platform you can't ignore as a mobile app platform.
  • iPhone, only Mac builds phones for iOS (not Cisco OS).  It has huge market share and the impressive consideration is the number of apps and surfing people that use iPhones accounts for.  iPad, iTouch also use iOS.  This post assumes iPhone is the only smart phone from Apple. iOS is an extremely important platform and is my 1st choice of platform to target.
  • Windows 7 Phone is going to get popular especially as there are alot of .NET and silverlight developers that can easily adapt to the Microsoft Windows 7 phone platform.  Tooling for developers is good and free.  The app store is easy to use so this has to a big player for the future.  In the short time MS have released Windows 7 phone, manufactures like Samsung and LG have sold alot of smartphone units with the Windows 7 Phone OS.
Original Source: Wikipedia 26 January 2010
Update: 11 Feb 2011 - Microsoft and Nokia have an agreement to win market share in the smartphone market.  This looks like good business for both parties.  Nokia is loosing ground and doesn't have a decent platform.  Microsoft have a great platform but no market share.  With Nokia's distribution and Microsoft playform/devlopers it looks like agreat match.   BBC news article.

Update 3 March 2011 - Apple has now sold 100 million iPhones as of Feb 2011.  15 million iPads where sold in 2010.

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