As companies embark on mobile application development in order to satisfy business needs (whether it be Android, iPhone, Blackberry, Windows Mobile development, or whatever), a number of requirements to a mobile platform emerge. Most critical of them are as follows:
1. Desktop application integration. This includes accurate data synchronization with encryption and possibility to manage data offline. If you need timely access to important data stored on your desktop, including e-mails, event alerts, and customer data, than proper integration is a must.
2. Multi-tasking. Due to a limited character of mobile device resources, multi-tasking is one of the key ways to increase productivity. (Though it’s okay with Windows Mobile development, this may be an issue for iPhone or Android developers.)
3. Minimization of traffic amount between a server and a mobile device, which contributes to time and cost savings.
4. User-friendly interface that allows accomplishing necessary tasks by fewer operations.
5. The last, but not the least of requirements is lower total cost of ownership (TCO) and support costs. Implementation of a mobile platform across the enterprise must be estimated beforehand and such factors, as support and upgrade costs, are of importance, as well.
Each platform provider offers its own mobile solutions to satisfy these requirements. Microsoft, for instance, is getting prepared for Windows Mobile 7 launch, which potentially would also improve Windows Mobile development experience. Google, on the other hand, armed with the forthcoming Google Nexus One, is trying to compete by incorporating Android with existing Google Apps, such as Google Docs, Gmail, Google Calendar, and other. Apple puts emphasis on business features, providing integration with MS Exchange, as well as data encryption, GPS, etc.
However, according to Evans Data survey, Windows Mobile development is still dominant in comparison with RIM OS, Mac OS, and Android development. 50 percent of mobile developers are targeting either Windows Mobile 6.0 or Windows Mobile 5.0 platforms. The reasons why the number of businesses operating on Windows Mobile is overwhelming, include the following:
• Apart from Outlook integration, Windows Mobile offers such Microsoft Office Mobile applications, as Excel Mobile, PowerPoint Mobile, and Word Mobile. These applications have gained so much popularity that they are universally implemented across various industries.
• The TCO of the Windows Mobile platform is 15-24% lower than that of the RIM Blackberry platform over a three-year period. And there’s nothing to be surprised at, since the native support of Exchange ActiveSync removes the need to invest in additional software, integration, and other Windows Mobile development efforts.
• Windows Mobile, being a .NET-based platform, gives users a possibility to gain all advantages of Microsoft Office and other Microsoft-based applications.
Though being sometimes criticized for its clumsy user interface, Windows Mobile, compared to other mobile platforms, is, to the maximum extent, a business-oriented technology, which is, naturally, determined by the marketing strategy of Microsoft, concerning Windows Mobile development. The good thing about it all is competition that drives all of these platform providers to new enhancements and innovations, which, in their turn, help better satisfy the mentioned requirements to business application development.