Friday, April 29, 2011

Introduction to Mobile Development for Android and iOS

Mobile Development is a hot topic today.  There are a number of very good reasons for this.  First of all, mobile devices provide unique forms of input via sensors:  accelerometers, cameras, sound recording, and GPS location to name a few.  Secondly, the number of these devices is expanding rapidly.  Some analysts predict that mobile devices will exceed the number of desktops by as early as 2013.  The end result is that if you're not developing mobile applications, your competitors certainly are.

Those are the benefits, but there are pitfalls as well.  The mobile space is currently a battlefield and there will be winners and losers.  As each competitor attempts to outshine it's rivals, APIs will rise and be replaced quickly.  And finally, even if you were to choose a single OS to support, you have the possibility of internal fragmentation (iPhone3 vs iPhone4 vs iPad vs iPad2).  One writer goes so far as to say:

An AT&T “Android” phone is not an Android phone, but an AT&T one. A Samsung “Android” phone is not an Android phone but a Samsung one. If you get a Samsung phone from AT&T you get one thing, if you get the same phone from Verizon you get something else.

In the mobile space today, there are two major players Android (Google) and iOS (Apple) with Android leading at 51% and iPhone behind at 33%.  Based on a recent survey by Business Insider, the other contenders (Blackberry, Windows Mobile, WebOS) combined don't even add up to Apple's share.

So what platform do you choose and why?

Next: Why you should develop for the Android Platform

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