Mobile Technology, as the name implies, refers to any type of portable devices such as smart phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), Palm, iPhone, iPod Touch, MP3 player, etc. The benefit of using mobile technology is the anytime and anywhere accessibility. Currently, the Digital Convergence Lab focuses on developing applications that can be run on smart phones, such as the Android, iPhone, and the iPod Touch.
Another major development tool that we use to develop mobile applications is Adobe Flash Lite. According to Adobe, Flash Lite is a “runtime engine that provides users a rich, engaging experience across mobile phones and consumer electronics devices (WORA – Write Once, Run Anywhere).”
While Flash Lite is available for developers who use Flash (PC and Mac), iPhone SDK can be downloaded from Apple and is only available on the Mac platform. The SDK comes with xCode IDE (Integrated Development Environment), iPhone simulator, and other tools for developing applications for iPhone and iPod Touch.
Considerations when developing contents for mobile devices:
- Memory allocation
- Small screen sizes -- 176 x 208 to 480 x 320 with the exception of iPad
- Devices Operating System -- Symbian, Google Android, iPhone, Brew, Palm, Windows Mobile, etc.
- Input methods -- softkeys, finger touches, shake, stylus pen, etc.
- Always have an 'Exit' button
At Digital Convergence Lab, we have been experimenting with two mobile platforms development namely, iPhone OS (iOS) and Android OS (2.1, 2.2, 3.0).
To start developing a native app for iPhone, you need to register as an Apple Developer (or use your existing Apple account) and then download iOS SDK 4 from http://developer.apple.com/iphone/index.action. The registration process is free. However, when you are ready to distribute your app(s) via App Store, you need to enroll in the iPhone Developer Program. More information can be found from http://developer.apple.com/programs/iphone/
On a contrary, developing apps for Android is more open and not tied to the tools developers have to use.