Mobile Web applications
The approach of Research in Motion
The Mobile Internet has been gaining tremendous momentum in the industry, justified by the astonishing figures indicating that significantly more number of mobile devices are being connected to the internet compared to the desktop computers. This is the result of innovation in the mobile space! However, this trend has not transformed into the same level of end-user experience, and the eco-system that drives it. As we are entering the second decade of this millennium, we anticipate the real innovation to predominantly come from the mobile applications as opposed to more number of devices and the increasing availability of network bandwidth and radio access.
The success towards developing innovative mobile applications is often based on a rich platform offering a complete ecosystem that will allow developers to rapidly develop, test and deploy applications. These include exposing key device functionality via APIs, necessary development tools, security essentials, and a robust overall development experience, among others. To this end, the business of hosting applications is also gaining popularity among both service providers and handset vendors.
Until now, the mobile application development efforts have largely been very device and platform centric. In other words, an application that was developed for one platform or a device cannot be re-used for another device or platform for that matter without significant effort to re-program or tweak the application to fit the new platform.
Mobile Web applications
Today, we all understand that Web is ubiquitous and is widely used in every home and one can almost say that we cannot be without it. Mobile Web, on the other hand originally was meant to bring the functionality of the web to the mobile in an optimized form through languages such as WML and Mobile HTML with limited functionality.
However, this notion has completely changed recently with high powered mobile phones (also referred to as Smartphones) that are now capable of rendering the same “full web” content that we are used to seeing on conventional desktop computers. This coupled with the power of mobility, and the diverse functionality that a mobile device offers today including access to location, camera, sensors, voice capabilities, email, among others, brings a new dimension to mobile application development and enormous opportunity for innovation. To this end, there are several standards efforts in the industry such as Widgets, Device APIs, Policy working groups in W3C, OMTP’s BONDI, and other foras that are actively engaged to marry the mobile web environment with the device functionality.
BlackBerry Widgets platform
At RIM, we are highly sensitive to developer requirements and our focus has always been to give the developers the best tools and device functionality that can empower application development.
BlackBerry Widgets is a platform to allow developers to leverage their existing web knowledge to build compelling mobile applications. A BlackBerry Widget combines standard web technologies with local device functionality in a familiar fashion while still providing industry leading security. Based off of the W3C Widget specification, a BlackBerry Widget is an alternative approach to building a mobile application in a native SDK yet still provides the same power and functionality. By using standard web technologies, the barrier for building compelling BlackBerry applications has been significantly lowered.
In summary, we would like to conclude by saying that the mobile web platform is a platform of choice for mobile application development. Furthermore, we believe it will be a very promising field for research and development for years to come and a great opportunity for everyone involved in the mobile eco-system ranging from the operators, vendors, content developers, and the end-user and finally bringing the ultimate end-user mobile web experience the way it is meant to be.
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