With the advent of mobile cloud computing, increasing effort has been put into developing platforms that simplify the development of cloud-based mobile applications. Creating apps for the mobile cloud is significantly different than developing apps for a native smartphone platform like the iPhone or Android. But over the long run, the mobile cloud computing model may prove more profitable for app developers, and open the field to a larger number of developers.

Current mobile development platforms

In case of the current native platforms, developers need to be knowledgeable about the platform-centric APIs and development tools provided by the platform vendors, in this case Apple and Google. Objective- C is the main development language being used for writing iPhone apps that are being offered in Apple‘s App Store. This may not be difficult for experienced C programmers, but Objective-C requires significant programming capabilities and may pose a steep learning curve for newcomers. Android developers use Java, C or C++ as the main programming languages for app development.

Both the iPhone and Android platforms provide development tools for making app development process easier and coherent. Still, these are high-level programming languages that relatively few master when compared to the vast number of skilled Web developers that focus on using web-centric technologies and standards like HTML, CSS, JavaScript and XML.

Web based mobile application development

Several industry analysts predict that mobile applications will gradually move to the cloud, and move away from being installed and run directly from the handsets themselves. Instead, apps will be accessed and executed directly from the cloud through a mobile web browser interface. Several technologies facilitating this change are already available. HTML5, for example, is necessary for enabling caching on the handset, so that users will experience uninterrupted service levels despite fluctuations in network service delivery. 4G mobile networks, like LTE and WiMAX, are fundamental for supporting large-scale mobile cloud deployment. These networks are already being deployed in several cities and small regions and are expected to obtain significant adoption rates in the coming years.

Enabling mobile technologies

A few mobile solutions providers, such as appMobi, have started to offer integrated mobile browsers that allow users to access apps directly from the websites of their publishers, thereby eliminating the need to go to Apple App Store or Android Market. This also means that app developers and publishers don’t need to go through complicated, and sometimes costly, submission processes, unexpected rejection of their submissions and the required profit sharing with the third-party app stores.

From the perspective of developing mobile apps, using standard web languages and standards like HTML/HTML5, CSS and JavaScript enables cross-platform functionality and removes the limitations of native app development. A much larger segment of developers can start creating mobile apps using the same tools they are already accustomed to such as DreamWeaver, Eclipse or Visual Studio. Another benefit includes software upgrades – as there is no need any more for upgrading apps on the handsets themselves.

Some other interesting mobile apps solution providers include FeedHenry andRhoMobile. These offer cloud-based smartphone frameworks that allow developers to create cross-platform mobile apps using traditional web technologies. With no hardware or software to install, it seems inevitably a very interesting choice for web developers and enterprises that quickly want to start creating and deploying new mobile apps.

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