Mobile development

Mobile applications are teetering on the edge of what will be Web 3.0. Web2.0 showed us that web-applications can be as full-featured as their desktop counter-parts with the added benefit that we don't have to download and maintain the application and also carry our data between various computers.

Previous mobile applications were relegated to simple applications, or Brew/J2ME applications that were carrier specific, limited in use, and non-upgradeable. By contrast, full featured mobile web browsers like Opera Mobile provide a common base to deploy applications via web interfaces. This could be compared to the effect a standards based, open-browser like Firefox spawned Web2.0. Give users a single, stable application, and developers a common framework in which to deploy the UI for applications, and things will happen.

This article on Getting Mobile, by Brian Fling of BlueFlavor is a good introduction to some of the current hurdles in developing a mobile application or site.

What is particularly scary is the control mobile carriers have in North America. This was definitely illustrated for the niche geo-market at Where2.0, where US mobile operators refuse to open the location-interface for mobile phones (except Nextel, and limited Nokia phones).

However, I think this is the same powerplay that Microsoft was pulling in the '90s. Standards and open-platforms will emerge that will enable developers and companies to provide various tools and utilities to users on the go.

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About the Author

Andrew Turner is an advocate of open standards and open data. He is actively involved in many organizations developing and supporting open standards, including OpenStreetMap, Open Geospatial Consortium, Open Web Foundation, OSGeo, and the World Wide Web Consortium. He co-founded CrisisCommons, a community of volunteers that, in coordination with government agencies and disaster response groups, build technology tools to help people in need during and after a crisis such as an earthquake, tsunami, tornado, hurricane, flood, or wildfire.