Mobile Application Development

Mobile Application Development is the process of building and developing software and application programs for mobile phones and smart gadgets. These application and software programs are either installed already during the mobile device’s manufacturing or bought from software providers for mobile phones and then installed in the phone, or downloaded directly to the mobile phone through its web browser (via its HTTP functionality that uses client- and server-side processing). But since this is a very broad topic, this article will help you familiarize yourself with what mobile application development is all about.

Software and application programs for mobile phones are being designed, built and developed to run on the most well-known mobile device platforms and environments today. These are the Android OS, the Blackberry OS, the HP webOS, Windows Mobile, the Symbian OS and the Apple iOS. These execution environments only support the codes and binaries that correspond to its operating system. But what is common among most mobile phones is that they use ARM processors. Through the commonly used ARM Architecture, the codes and binaries of the mobile app are executed in machine format for reading by the device’s processor. Development of mobile apps though, still have to be done using tools for specific mobile operating systems.

As a developer, it is always a must to determine and do an analysis of what platforms or environments to use for the development of mobile phone applications and programs. Doing mobile software development gives the programmer exposure to the tools of the trade, enabling him to write the code faster, test it, and later on deploy the mobile app for certain mobile phones and their operating systems. Some of the known development environments for mobile application development include the following: Adobe AIR, Android, Application Craft, Aqua, Battery Tech, Blackberry, Canappi, CloudPact, Corona SDK, iOS SDK, Java ME, Macromedia Flash Lite, Meme IDE,.NET Framework, Symbian, Windows Mobile, and the webOS.

After every development phase, the built and developed modules of the mobile application must undergo a series of tests to determine whether it functions according to the requirements set to it or not. The project team must assign one of its members to perform the testing and functionality checks. For mobile application development, here are the mobile application test environments that can be used for the Android, iPhone and Blackberry operating systems:

  1. Google Android Emulator
  2. Official Android SDK Emulator
  3. MobiOne
  4. iPhoney; and
  5. Blackberry Stimulator.

Other tools include FoneMonkey, Robotium, Sikuli and MITE.

These are the things to keep in mind when setting out to develop software applications and programs for mobile phones and smart gadgets. It is quite difficult and time-consuming to undertake a project of developing mobile applications since there are a lot of requirements to consider and a lot of time is needed for analyses, the concurrent development of different modules, and its integration into one fully-functioning application, and the testing phase that should be carried out meticulously. Mobile application software development is similar to system software development for computers, and web applications, and web site development – the product of the project undergoes the phases of the system development life cycle (SDLC). Therefore, the only difference is the development environments and the operating systems where the mobile applications are going to be deployed.

Rise of Androids For Mobile Application Development

Android is a Google’s product. It’s a free, open source mobile operating system. It includes a software development kit, libraries and tools which eventually help to create third party applications using the Java framework. Though it is spreading among mobile users rapidly, apple’s iphone is unbeatable in market share.

In order to popularize their product, Google has been looking for android developers who can bring a lot of innovation and creativity to this platform. Recently it has launched android developers challenge to incorporate new ideas and technology into androids.

Symbian, Windows Mobile, Palm and OS X for iPhone are some of the popular operating system today. Most of them are closed systems. To compete all these mobile platform, Google android uses open network concepts. Thus android users can develop application that suits their needs in a more user-friendly way.

Activities, broadcast receiver, services and content provider are the fundamental concepts in androids mobile application development. Android developers who work on these concepts have good growth and scope today. Though Google hopes that androids will be the leading mobile platform soon, apple’s iPhone is people’s choice today as it well supports third party applications.

Now-a-days mobile users opt for phones with more features, functionality and options. To meet their demands, developers now look for androids mobile development. Android applications have been developed in many software companies. Many offshore consulting offer cost-effective solutions to android development.

May be now, android is not a leader for mobile platform, but it will lead the world market soon as Google has taken vigorous steps like forming Google android alliance and offering incentives to enhance its development.

Android Takes Lead In The Market

Google created Android has taken a step forward in the war of smart phone platforms that is growing at a fast rate. It has snatched market share of RIM and Nokia’s Symbian OS, unlike the popular myth of overtaking share of Apple’s iOS. The biggest loser in market share has been Symbian who has lost about 14% in a year having only about 2.6% share according to latest statistics, whereas RIM has lost about 5.7% during the same period, and iOS has lost 1% of its users. Well iOS and Android cannot be termed as competitors since they target a different customer base when the prices are compared. But still, it can be said to have taken lead in the market when the figures are compared.

One of the main reasons for the Android’s popularity is that it has operating system based on Linux that is very secure and user interface that is appealing to users. It also has special Dalvik virtual machine devised for its integration. One of the fact which is not known by many is that Google has helped Linux in making OS for smart phones and tablet computers based on Linux OS while researching for Android development. Due to its feature of open source, it is available cheap to manufacturers. Software applications based on Android are available for download at stores such as Google Play and third party websites such as Amazon.

The four types of android applications are: activity, services and content provider. Let’s look at each of them.

Activity: It is most visible part of the application. It presents UI to an application known as view. It implements various UI elements such as textbox, labels, etc. Application moves from one activity to another by using method known as startActivity()

Services: Like different multitask figuring domains, there are applications running “out of sight” that perform different obligations. It calls the aforementioned sorts of applications “services.” The service is an Android requisition that has no UI. The recipient is a provision part that gets solicits to process goals. Like the service, a beneficiary does not, in standard rehearse, have a UI component. Collectors are ordinarily enlisted in the AndroidManifest.xml index.

Content Provider: The Content Provider is the android mechanism for data-store abstraction.

Android is named after its initial developer before it was bought by Google. Google unveiled Android with Open Handset Alliance that is open standards for mobile devices in 2007. It has about 7 million apps as on Oct 2012 and about 25 billion apps are downloaded by users worldwide.