We are living in the post-PC world. Computing is not restricted to desktops and laptops any more. Internet-enabled mobile devices like Smartphones and tablets are eating into PC sales, and hundreds of millions of people use their mobiles to accomplish tasks that were previously performed using a PC or laptops. Not only it this trend apparent in personal use, but enterprises and businesses are also relying more and more on smart mobile devices.
Android, iOS, Windows Phone and BlackBerry are the major operating systems in the market. More than 90% of the mobile market is dominated by devices that run Android or iOS. Windows Phone has some presence in the market, while BlackBerry seems to be losing the battle. When you are building a mobile app, you need to decide which operating systems you want your app on.
Which mobile platforms should one target?
Choosing a right platform for mobile apps is quite a tough decision. The platforms that you choose will depend on what audience you are targeting and what your mobile app development goals are. When the majority of your target audience is using the same platform, it’s easy to choose a right platform.
But if you are planning to cater a huge audience that includes iPhone, Android, Window and others, you need to build the app for multiple platforms. This is where things get can difficult. You need to create separate apps for every operating system you are targeting - this drives up the cost of development significantly.
Cross Platform Mobile Development: Building apps for Multiple Platforms
The main benefit of using cross platform technology is improved speed of development and reduction in cost. A single base code works across all different platforms. But, there are several other advantages of using cross-platform technology, including:
Largest Target Audience: The simple fact is that the more platforms you cover the more users you will reach. Many businesses avoid targeting some operating systems simply because of the increased cost and effort involved. Day by day Apple is and Google Android users increase rapidly worldwide. The future of Windows Phone also looks bright owing to Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia’s mobile unit. Developing an application that is available on different mobile platforms helps you reach out to a larger audience.
Code Once, Run Everywhere: This approach gives uniform look of the app across various platforms. In web apps the code will be written once and run on different platforms. While this makes the task of the developers a little complicated at the start, it is easier to deploy changes when and updates for the app.
Enterprise Friendly: For any enterprise that has implemented BYOD policy or any organization that doesn’t have device uniformity, it is mandatory to build apps for all operating systems. Cross-platform mobile app development is the best option for most enterprises.
Are you considering cross-platform mobile application development? There are several tools that help you build apps for all major mobile operating systems. Let’s take a look at three of the most popular and reputed tool for cross-platform app development.
Appcelerator Titanium allows web developers to develop native applications for Android, iPhone/iPad and BlackBerry. Its open source SDK has over 5000 devices and mobile OS APIS, and it comes equipped with Alloy (an MVC framework), Studio (Eclipse-based IDE) and effective cloud services. For developers who want to use cross platform tools to use native apps, Appcelerator is the natural choice.
RhoMobile is a tool that speeds up the process of app development and helps developers create powerful native application for iOS, Android, Windows Mobile, BlackBerry and Windows Phone 7. It uses an MVC pattern and you can use HTML5 or Ruby to build native apps.
The kind of mobile apps you want, and how you would like to develop them will, dictate your choice of cross-platform mobile development tools. When you start out, you will need to spend some time to understand how a specific platform work, but if you have been programming for some time, you won’t have to face a steep learning curve with any of the above options.