Earlier this year, I was lucky enough to meet Josh Clark at FOWD. I'd been reading his articles about flagship apps and content first, and I was very keen to have a chat with him about a discussion I'd had with a client. I had been discussing which platform they should be targeting, and depending upon who I was talking to at the client (and their opinions on the goals of the project) the decision on a choice of platform was different.
It's Mobile World Congress 2011 this week, and amongst the throngs of Honeycomb tablets, Nokia and Microsoft square dancing on the showroom floor, there are a few announcements that may not be hugely exciting to the general public, but that the tech community should be giggling with glee about.
As a developer and iPhone fan, nothing pleases me more to say that Android has caught up with the iPhone. Android hardware has been great for a while, the Motorola Droid and Nexus One being the first in a wave of great devices, but the software hadn't been right. Android took its sweet time to develop but finally has all the great features iPhone users have enjoyed since the iPhone 3G and more (wi-fi hotspots for example).
Over half of the UK population has a mobile phone, and there are 40 million active mobile devices. Of that number, there are about 8 million touch screen devices, with around half of that number being accounted for by the Apple iPhone. More than half of the new handsets being manufactured today have touch screen functionality, though no other single device has had the success of the iPhone.
A friend of mine recently bought a HTC HD2, the extra large touch screen Windows Mobile 6.5 phone. He loves it, it's great for movies and the mobile web, thanks to Opera and other apps built in to the Sense UI.
Last weekend I was sat on the tube (London underground to international readers), picadilly line to be exact, heading into central London. A young man got on and sat down opposite me. He got out a little ASUS netbook, turned it on and swivelled the lid to use it as a touch screen. "Awesome", I thought, "he's got one of those cool touch screen netbooks running Windows 7, I'd love one of those, it'd be so convenient".
As I mentioned in a previous post, I'm planning a mobile web toolkit to replace iUI, but what would you want in it that's not in iUI already? Should is work across all browsers, even Pocket IE and that godawful Blackberry Web Browser? Should it use progressive enhancement all over the shop or just create a new version for each browser? Should it focus on touch screens or is clicking important too?
Recently, I've been working on an iPhone web app for my employer (internal, so I can't share). I based the design and architecture around the iUI library by Joel Hewitt, which became an overnight de-facto standard for web apps. However, after a lot of playing with it and turning it inside out, I've found there are a number of problems which have not yet been fixed.