History of mobile Application
Current State of Mobile Application
The Future of Mobile Application
application (or mobil
e app) is a software
to run on smart
other mobile devices.
The history of the mobile app begins,
obviously, with the history of the mobile device
and the first mobile phones whose microchips
required the most basic of software to send
and receive voice calls. But since then things
have got a lot more complicated.
First devices launched
in early 90s
Used in Psion’s
operating system) devices
Formed the basis of
Palm OS (also known
as Garnet OS) is a mobile
operating system initially
developed by Palm, Inc.,
for personal digital
assistants(PDAs) in 1996
Palm OS was designed for
ease of use with
based graphical user
Wireless Markup Language was based on XML and
WML documents are divided into a set of cards, each
representing one unit of interaction between the user
and the user agent.
Instruction embedded within the cards may invoke
services on origin servers.
Several cards are grouped into a deck, t he basic WML
unit, that origin server can sent to a user agent.
Designed for embedded system
and mobile platform.
Java ME technology was
originally created in order to
deal with the constraints
associated with building
applications for small devices.
For this purpose Oracle defined the basics for Java ME
technology to fit such a limited environment and make
it possible to create Java applications running on small
devices with limited memory, display and power
Java ME spawned an open source implementation,
Mika VM, which contains the class libraries for
implementing the Connected Device Configuration.
JME was the undisputed king of mobile platforms, it’s
used in the Bada and Symbian operating systems and
implementation existed for Windows CE, Windows
Mobile and Android.
As mentioned earlier,
Symbian grew out of the
Psion EPOC operating
Originally developed by
Symbian Ltd – a joint venture
of Psion, Ericsson, Motorola
and Nokia – the operating
system was almost
In 2009 250 million devices
were running Symbian.
It was Nokia that really drove the development of Symbian OS. The
S60 platform was used on nearly all Nokia handsets as well as some
Samsung and LG ones.
The use of different, fragmented platforms (Sony Ericsson and
Motorola used UIQ and there was MOAP(S) for NTT DoCoMo),
each with its own API, meant that there were a variety of
deployment techniques and no standard market place for apps.
The incompatibility of apps across platforms and the failure to fully
move to open source (several key components were licensed from
third parties) are probably what sounded the death-knell for
There were also problems with malware, a browser which didn’t
support multiple windows or compress pages and a nightmare
process for typing in non-Latin text.
Symbian, once the largest codebase ever moved to Open Source, is
now licence-only and Nokia’s development of the OS has been
outsourced to Accenture.
NativeAnd Non-native Frameworks
Windows Phone 8
Based on the Linux kernel, Android started life as a proposed
advanced operating system for digital cameras until the company
realised that the market was limited compared to that for mobile
The Open Handset Alliance unveiled the Android operating system in
2007, nearly two years after Google’s acquisition of Android.
(The launch of Google’s foray into the mobile world was delayed by
the launch of the iPhone which radically changed consumers’
expectations of what a smartphone should do.)
Apple’s iPhone set the standard for the new generation of
smartphones when it was first released in June 2007 with its
touchscreen and direct manipulation interface. There was no
native SDK until February of 2008 (Apple initially planned to
provide no support for third-party apps).
The iOS lineage started with NeXTSTEP, an object-oriented
multitasking OS from the late eighties developed by NeXT
Computer (acquired by Apple in 1996). The world’s first web
browser was developed on NeXTSTEP and proved hugely
influential in the formative years of HTML.
The main programming language for iOS is Objective C.
Development is done through Xcode IDE which has an in-built
The second generation of the Windows Phone operating system uses
the same Metro interface but has an updated architecture based on
the Windows NT kernel (like Windows 8) rather than Windows CE
(which was used as the basis for Windows Phone 7).
You can develop for Windows Phone 8 only on a system running
Windows 8 – using Visual Studio 2012 as an IDE. You’re allowed to
choose between XAML, Direct3D or a mixture for building UIs; you
can write C#, Visual Basic apps on top of .Net; and you can use
C++ for native code.
Publication is less flexible. Apps need to be put through a review
process before being allowed into the store similar to iOS.
The low take up of Windows Phone makes this process seem rather
Originally named BBX, BlackBerry 10 is based on the QNX microkernel
operating system whose parent company RIM acquired in 2010.
BlackBerry 10 uses a system of gestures and touches which is supposed to
make physical buttons unnecessary for core functions (e.g. a ‘back’or
The OS also has an Android runtime layer so that Android apps can be
packaged and distributed on the BlackBerry platform. (The latest versions
even allow the direct download of apps via Google Play.)
Native application development utilises an API library in C and a Native
API in C/C++ though you can eschew C++ coding through the WebWorks
framework (HTML5 and JS), Adobe AIR or Java itself.
Again the publishing process is rather onerous: 10 business days are
required to approve your app.
It is of course possible to sidestep the issues that come with developing
native apps by instead developing web apps for use on mobile devices.
The advantage to developing web-based apps are clear: you immediately
solve the proliferation problem; you can ‘write once, run anywhere’; and
you can use common web-based languages like HTML5, CSS and
Some frameworks allow you to build ‘hybrid’apps which are not truly
native (since their layout rendering is done via web views) or totally web-
based (since they’re packaged for distribution and have access to native
The disadvantages of hybrid apps are that you only get limited access to
the native functionality of the phone on which the app runs and that such
apps are usually slower than ‘pure’native apps.
Phone Gap supports most major platforms (iOS, Android,
BlackBerry, Windows Phone, Palm WebOS, Bada and
Symbian) and allows developers to make use of native
hardware features like accelerometers, compasses and
A cloud based compilation engine – PhoneGap Build –
generates compatible apps for all supported
platforms but rejection of PhoneGap-built apps by the
Apple App Store is still a frequent issue.
It’s based on Apache Cordova which also underpins the
iOS, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone apps
can all now be created via Appcelerator’s Titanium
Application source code is interpreted on the mobile
Titanium provides fast results, making it a popular
prototyping tool but (as with PhoneGap) performance
issues abound and code forking is often required (e.g. if
Miniaturisation has made wearable what once would have been
unthinkably cumbersome – sophisticated computers and
communication devices can now be incorporated into wristbands,
glasses or even clothes themselves. Oh, and the market of ‘wearable
tech’is estimated to exceed $12billion by 2018.
Released to developers in 2013 Google Glass is an ‘augmented
reality’device that is set to get a consumer launch at some point
this year. David Thompson has seen a demo of Glass and his
opinion is that while the product still has a long way to go before
fulfilling the promise of genuine AR, the possibilities are exciting.
It can record images and video and can almost be entirely
controlled by voice alone when in operation.
Samsung’s smart watch, like most smart watches
released to date (cf. Pebble and SmartWatch 2),
met with a universally poor reception when
released in September 2013.
The Nike+ FuelBand was a simple but effective
foray into the wearable tech space from the
sportswear manufacturer. The FuelBand is worn
on the wrist and tracks physical activity, allowing
users to share and compare stats via the Nike+