January 05, 2011, 9:08 AM — Mobile application development has gone multiplatform, with Apple iPhone and Google Android the top preferences by developers, according to a Forrester Research report released late in 2010.
To avoid being overwhelmed by multiplatform complexity, Forrester recommends developers establish a multidevice strategy for both development and testing in 2011. Single-device support is giving way to multidevice accommodation, Forrester said. Multidevice shops are now in the majority, with one in four IT shops supporting all types of personal mobile devices employees bring to work. Some employers let employees choose from a list of approved devices and OSes.
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"The year 2010 was when mobile application development began crossing the chasm from early adopters to mainstream application development shops," said analyst Jeffrey Hammond in the report's executive summary, along with associates Mike Gilpin and Adam Knoll. "But what started as 'we need an iPhone app!' has now progressed to a multiple device and operating system reality. Our data shows that mobile developers are already supporting native applications on multiple platforms and that it's likely to get more complicated as tablets join mobile phones as new development targets."
Survey data shows a growing tide of mobile application development that is evolving in a very different direction than what long-term industry watchers might have predicted, Forrester reports. Shops typically have shown a desire to limit the number of devices they support, such as BlackBerry and Windows Mobile, Forrester said. "However, these shops are fighting a losing battle. Even companies that don't support a 'bring your own device to work' model are finding that they are getting more and more requests to support more than a single mobile operating system," said Forrester.