One problem that exists is that there are awesome applications for some mobile platforms that aren’t for others. There are many who would claim this diversity is what gives certain app stores an advantage over one another. However, the big loser here is developers. If they make an iOS application and not an Android application, that’s 500 million customers that the developer is losing out on. Adobe is looking to make the porting process easier with a build service called PhoneGap.
The PhoneGap build service is an Adobe hosted service that allows developers to create an application and port it to a variety of mobile operating systems. Currently, there is support for at least Android, iOS, Windows Phone, WebOS, and Symbian.
Actually using it is a little more difficult than it sounds. For starters, you’ll need the SDK for any mobile OS you plan on working with installed on your machine. If you plan on working with iOS, that means you have to own a Mac. Additionally, you’ll need things like signing tools. While Symbian and WebOS applications don’t require this, others do.
PhoneGap is available via Adobe’s Creative Cloud. If you’re not familiar with that, it’s a service that gives customers access to various applications like Photoshop for a monthly fee. A subscription to the Adobe Creative Cloud ranges from $29.99 per month to $74.00 per month.
The big plus here is that developers now have another way to get their applications on more platforms. For Android and iOS, this isn’t such a big deal. They have over a million applications between them. However, for struggling operating systems, such as Symbian, Blackberry, WebOS, and Windows Phone, it is a much bigger deal. Making it easy for developers to port their apps to these operating systems could mean thousands upon thousands of new apps on these platforms. That is considerably more than they have now.
Could this make less active mobile application markets more appealing for developers? More importantly, does the cost outweigh the benefits? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.