If you develop native applications, you live on the left-hand side of this image. You’re close to phone internals and you can use hardware APIs to take full advantage of sensors, location based services, GPS, camera and other components inside the phone. Of course, that also means that you have to port, test and maintain versions for all the platforms your customers use — but you can’t have everything.
Rich Web Applications
At our annual Uplinq conference last month, I presented on developing rich Web applications for smartphones and on getting access from the Web to in-phone hardware resources. That level of access can put some very rich Web applications in your users’ future:
• An auction site could include a “take photo” button so that the user could write a description of the object for sale, photograph it with an in-browser camera and post it to the Web – entirely within the browser (as demonstrated in Paul Jacobs’ Uplinq keynote).
• Location-based services that annotate maps and real-time views with restaurants and other businesses could help users interact with their surroundings.
• An online meeting application could allow participants to use the camera for video conferencing – without downloading and installing native software.
There will still be a role for high-performance, function-specific native applications, but I think the momentum of the mobile Web will carry the market in the long run.
So, how do you get in on it? Start by visiting the Web Technologies section of the Qualcomm Developer Network (QDevNet). We’ve posted a series of papers there on what we’re doing, how we’re doing it and what it means for you. We’ll announce availability of the devices, tools and software builds that contain Web Technologies optimizations so you can aim your applications and content through the browser into phone hardware. And you can start taking the mobile Web as seriously as we have. Sy Choudhury is…