Tips on platform choices
This is a summary of the platform choices session at the Marseille Mini WIPJam part of The Night/Day of the mobile 2.0.
Yes iPhone development is sexy (nice device, nice development environment, nice appstore and today only iPhone users are really downloading app (maybe operators should be thinking of bundling data plan on other devices), nice tools see Unity which is a brilliant tool on iPhone that allows you to bring 3D animations onto iPhone to create animations and Games).
And as a developer it’s definitely worthwhile to publish at least one application and push it onto the appstore… it looks great on a CV! (obviously it means forking out quite a few €1000s for the development platform).
The Buzz is so high that the iPhone has become the de facto standard for demos today… maybe execs should think twice about their user base before nodding smilingly to any demo on an iPhone?
Today Android is also generating a lot of buzz (in the developer space more than the consumer space that is). Even though development in Java is seen as going Dalvik seems to bring enough speed improvement to reignite interest from the community. Gamers welcomed the arrival of the new native SDK, but the rest admitted that if html 5.0 does the trick it could work well for them.
However rather than thinking purely about sexiness and buzz, developers should also think about the type of users they are targeting with their applications and whether the direct to customer sales is the only alternative for them.
Using this graph: http://metrics.admob.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/april-2009-metrics-smartphone-share.jpg we can see that smartphones developers should not forget platforms like Symbian which continue to be dominant in terms of sales, even though users on these platforms might consume less applications / data as this is likely to change in the near future with the number of appstores announced.in the past few months.
In a similar fashion no developer should forget about java development which is now facilitated by development tools such as mobile distillery’s Alembic and allows developers to reach the majority of devices.
Openness does not seem to be a big pleaser for the crowd, a comment was “yes I submitted a bug to Android a few months back and still no answer… but that won’t change my plan to target Android”.
Finally web development is becoming increasingly popular and powerful, and should not be neglected as it gives developers a good way to reach customers on multiple devices, with limited dependence on appstores / certification, and a relative ease of development…
As someone said to conclude … this is all very complex but that keeps us in the job.