Because I'm friends with a bunch of tech geeks, I'm always around the latest mobile devices. Some of my friends have Androids. Others have iPhones. A select few have Windows Phones. One friend has a cell phone the size of a tablet—a monstrosity that neither fits in his pocket nor his palm, yet he insists on the device's utility. "The future," he calls it, speaking on the line between jest and sincerity. I give him the benefit of the doubt.
But it's not just his mobile device that is the future; it's the full spectrum of mobile devices and technologies—the myriad of options that expands every day—that is the future.
As you can see in this infographic, more time is being spent on mobile devices, billions of dollars are expected to be spent on creating mobile apps, and in development numbers alone, mobile app projects are expected to outnumber desktop projects 4 to 1. Such a promising forecast does not come without its own set of challenges, many of which are already present. As we at Syncfusion have noted before, the challenge of mobile development today and in the future is the extreme fragmentation of devices. If you choose to deploy your business app on only one platform, you could be excluding more than half of your potential users, depending on their mobile device of choice.
It's insufficient to create an app for only one type of device, and perhaps you don't have the time or resources to create three stand-alone versions of essentially the same app for each of the big three: iOS, Android, and Windows Phone. That's where the hybrid app enters the picture.
Hybrid apps host a native web browser control inside a native shell to display local or remotely served webpages. The fact that a hybrid app hosts webpages through a native browser means the hybrid app is compatible on any device. Thus, the hybrid app is the ideal solution for mobile development—develop once, deploy anywhere. Multiple bridge technologies are available to help you build a hybrid app, and each has something different to offer, specifically the extent of functionality delivered.
Syncfusion's mobile development solution is Orubase—a complete framework for developing cross-platform, hybrid mobile applications. Orubase is unique because it is a bridge to native APIs for mobile devices, allowing your app access to contacts, notifications, native navigation elements, and the accelerometer and camera; all giving your app more functionality than is possible with other mobile development solutions.
However, a new element worth considering in your mobile development plans is here. Even though Microsoft already has a stake in the mobile market with Windows Phone, it is redefining what mobile can be with Windows 8. Windows 8 is able to run not only on the usual desktop and laptop clients, but also on tablets. This, coupled with the reimagining of the operating system as an interactive, touch-based environment, brings about unique possibilities for the future of line-of-business apps.
When we at Syncfusion consider mobile line-of-business applications in Windows 8, we're excited at the prospect of merging the simplified, minimal UI with the capabilities of our data-intensive components and controls. Imagine generating reports from your tablet as you're travelling to a meeting, or simply monitoring real-time updates of chart and grid data as you actively code other applications from your tablet.
Given these possibilities, we started planning and designing WinRT components as soon as we could. For our final quarterly release of the year, we're developing several controls for WinRT, including our popular reporting components—Essential XlsIO, Essential PDF, and Essential DocIO—as well some of our UI components, namely Essential Chart, Essential Diagram, Essential Gauge, Essential Maps, and Essential Grid. These components will function seamlessly across all the Windows 8 devices you're working on, whether you're firmly planted at a desktop in the office, or sprawled across a couch with a Surface tablet in your hands.
At Syncfusion, we're working to cover all the mobile bases so you don't have to. Visit Orubase.com to learn more about our hybrid mobile app framework, and check out our Road Map to learn more about what's coming in the next volume of Essential Studio.