Mobile Application Development

Software Development For The Mobile Market 


The furious rate of technological change in the mobile market has made it very challenging for developers to strategically plan a bespoke project, not only from a technical standpoint, but also because the market share for smartphones is changing rapidly between different systems.


Currently, there are a number of mobile operating systems to choose from, with the iPhone OS X dominating the market. Other systems include Google Android, Blackberry RIM OS, Windows Mobile, and the Palm OS / Web OS.


Because of strong global competition, iPhone’s penetration is unlikely to reach a point where these other platforms can be easily ignored. In particular:


Google-owned Android can only improve its position relative to iPhone because:


 Android releases are likely to narrow the quality gap with iPhone.

 Apple is unlikely to want to compete directly on price with Android.

 Google Android has a very attractive feature benefit in the inclusion of free navigation via Google Maps.

 As the Chinese manufacturers ramp up, there will be more, cheaper devices on the market.

 There are technological developments in web standards that will make it easier to deliver app-like functionality from websites in the coming years.


Mobile Web Performance


When considering how best to incorporate mobile technology into an existing business model it is vital to decide whether the mobile site is expected to be used independently of the main site, or if users would typically work with both.


This question connects to a number of other questions:


- Is mobile web performance sufficiently good for users to actually want to use all features on the existing site via a mobile web browser?

Are there existing models and sites that can be reviewed to see how users might use a mobile site?

How does the limited screen size of mobile devices impact on site design and usability?




Mobile web browsing is not fast. As much as the network operators advertise fast speeds, web-page load times on iPhone over good 3G connections are typically 5-10 seconds, often longer.


Statistics show that More than 80 percent of consumers claim they would access Web sites more often from their phone if the experience was as fast as it is on a computer.


An independent study by Equation Research found that today's consumers are disappointed with the performance of the mobile web. Despite the proliferation of smartphones with their full-featured web browsers, the majority of mobile web surfers have encountered issues with accessing websites via their handsets over the past year. The number one issue reported involves websites that are too slow to load, frustrating users to the point that over half said they would never return to the site in question.


A lot of this negative experience is because users are trying to browse non-optimised websites on mobile phones. Standard websites are simply far too heavy to work well with mobiles.


In practice, delivering a good user experience on mobiles requires significant optimisation – and some of this optimisation needs to be device specific. This means that we cannot avoid some level of per-device cost when implementing high quality mobile sites.


What about the next generation of mobile phone radio technology – will this boost speeds and solve the problem?


Unfortunately, this is unlikely to become a significant factor in the short term. Although there are strong rumours of an iPhone 4G model due out imminently, in the UK 4G LTE is currently mired in technical and legal debates.


Time-frame is also an important consideration when planning a mobile project, as the mobile web market will be totally different once 4G is deployed. For this reason, enormous technological change should be assumed on the mobile side. In the next three years, the screen sizes of devices will probably double, and the bandwidth available to a typical device will probably increase 5-fold.



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