the complexity of porting the software
to new devices.
˲ ˲Oldest APIs—they have been
around long enough to be supported
by many different device variants.
˲ ˲ Best tested APIs—they will be the
ChaRLanD: Ideally, in cross-plat-form software development projects,
we first target BlackBerry, as it is the
most minimal platform. We negotiate a minimum operating system release level with the customer, typically
pushing for at least 4. 6. Currently,
BlackBerry is at version 6.0, and if that
is acceptable, it makes for a much
richer application platform.
We focus on 4. 6 because there are
still a lot of enterprise users on it. We
target what we can, using the browser
as an application and build up from
there to Android and iPhone. It’s important to stick to this philosophy and
not start with an iPhone application
and try to work back to BlackBerry.
That approach often leads to emulating iPhone features on a BlackBerry, at
best an extremely painful effort.
neViLLe-neiL: Apple does try to make
it easy to move things from the Mac
desktop environment to iOS, but it’s
not the same environment and you
get a poor user experience. The same
thing will happen taking desktop/serv-er Linux developers and putting them
CReeGeR: Smartphones are not the
only devices that we’re talking about
here. Not all mobile-specific devices
are necessarily phones, such as iPads.
How can you broaden this advice for
those kinds of devices?
neViLLe-neiL: We have already been
through this with the Palm Pilot, and
in a lot of ways those lessons have been
forgotten. When the Palm Pilot came
out IT departments went nuts. A personal handheld device that contained
a large proprietary address book and
was subject to loss or inadvertent disclosure on an Internet site was not
what they wanted to hear about. One
should be careful about placing persistent proprietary data on a mobile
ChaRLanD: I want to stress the mini-
mum viable product approach: What
value can we provide to our user base
and can we do this in the mobile
browser? The browser paradigm is a
familiar concept to IT departments.
to Y, neViLLe-neiL: iPhone.
ReaLini: Do we agree that a thin client has inherent advantages in the
CReeGeR: Today, a thin client is desirable because the cloud is in ascendancy and people are not sensitive to
toY: For the enterprise, personal
data privacy is not a problem because
it is not your data; it belongs to the
company. Enterprise IT guys are going
to favor thin client. They want to keep
the company’s data inside the data
center to control access better, including revocation.
BoURne: As mobile devices become
more ubiquitous, I don’t see how existing wireless carriers in the U.S. will be
able to make the required capital investment to handle the increased demand for services. Certainly that is the
case in the next year or two. Cellphone
data transport is limited, and in the
U.S. at least, carriers are not making
great money on those services. How
does Wi-Fi as an alternative transport
layer fit in?
neViLLe-neiL: The urban U.S. usually
has good Wi-Fi coverage. Practically all
mobile devices have Wi-Fi, and people
building applications would be crazy
not to take advantage of that.
For the purposes of authentication,
cellular phones are attractive as each
one has a hard-to-duplicate ID. Plus,
there are many things a carrier can
do to secure data across a cellphone
network that cannot be done with random Wi-Fi access points. Lastly, when
you touch a Wi-Fi access point, unless
your data is encrypted, everybody else
is touching your data as well.
ReaLini: If wireless networks don’t
get better, will we get to the point
where smartphones are really just connected Wi-Fi devices?
My iPad is useless as a connected
application, and I have stopped using
it because it is too slow for some applications. If we have a situation where
users have powerful devices but the
network is unreliable, they will learn
to roam on Wi-Fi in the same way Africans learned to carry two SIM chips.
If that becomes standard practice
and carriers don’t solve the problem,
the cellular network will diminish in
importance. People will defect from
their networks and start connecting