Monday, May 4, 2009

Mobile Applications

Analysts, reporters, and computing futurists believe that mobile applications are the greatest path for growth in the computing industry. Their focus and enthusiasm centers on applications that can be installed natively on the mobile devices, rather than on the use of the mobile device as a communication gateway. For example, software that tells you how many of your “friends and acquaintances” are currently within 500 yards of where you are sitting, or can identify a song being played over a PA system. However, mobile devices can have a role that is much larger than they currently have as a platform for handy applications. Mobile devices can provide highly portable, low cost Internet access, thereby opening up huge new information consumer bases.

Many of the mobile applications being featured are productivity tools like scheduling or notification software or entertainment tools like music players and games. In order to run, these applications need to be purchased, downloaded, and installed on the mobile platform. Each mobile platform/operating system requires its own, natively compiled version of the application. The applications need to be redesigned and rebuilt for each target platform (e.g. iPhone, Blackberry, Windows Mobile, Android, etc.). While most of the focus on mobile computing has been on specific applications, the most obvious and potentially most important application has been forgotten: web access.

Most people who are currently using the Internet are accessing web sites. Web pages provide businesses, organizations, government, and individuals a portal to the world where they can provide information, sell products, and gather feedback. An organization’s web site is accessible to visitors through a web browser (e.g Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chrome, Safari), regardless of the operating system (MS-Windows, Mac, etc.) the visitor is using. This access to information is provided without purchasing, downloading, or installing anything - since most computers are delivered with a web browser already installed.

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