Enterprises are still in the early days of mobile application development. The growing evidence suggests enterprises should focus time and resources on cross-mobile-device applications.
Choosing amongst the many mobile platforms:
There’s no doubt that building native mobile applications, targeted at and leveraging the native device capabilities can produce very compelling user experiences. However, the question invariably boils down to which mobile platform should your enterprise build mobile application for?
The iPhone OS is definitely a leading contender. There’s an argument to be made for growing adoption of iPhone OS devices as Morgan Stanley suggests that the iPAD is cannibalizing the netbook market.
Android which now accounts for nearly half of U.S. mobile web traffic. However, it’s interesting to note that Motorola, a key Android partner and device manufacturer is rumored to have acquired a mobile OS company, Azingo. What’s more, Motorola Co-CEO, Sanjay Jha is quoted:
“I’ve always felt that owning your OS is important, provided you have an ecosystem, you have all the services and you have an ability and the scale to execute on keeping that OS at the leading edge. And I continue to believe that at some point, if we have all of those attributes, that owning our own OS will be a very important thing.”
HP, fresh off its Plam acquisition, plans to further invest in PalmOS and develop new tablets using the platform.
RIM is now planning to release its own tablet based on the BlackBerry OS, most likely version 6, to target the consumer market. This makes sense for RIM as they have many of the ecosystem and scale capabilities that Motorola’s Sanjay Jha deems a requirement for owing an OS.
Infinite requirements with finite IT budgets:
Given infinite time and resources, enterprises could target a few or all of these platforms with native applications. And therein lies the huge challenge IT departments and their line of business peers face. Today, the vast majority of enterprises building traditional web applications build and test for one to three PC-based browsers. These enterprises simply don’t have the resources to build native device applications for even two of the leading mobile platforms in addition to the traditional PC-based application. This is the overarching message I’ve heard when talking to customers about their mobile application plans and challenges.
Following early adopters isn’t always helpful:
Are you building native mobile applications today, and more importantly do you expect to in two or five years?
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PS: I should state: “The postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.”