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Issue 044: Mobile

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Issue 044: Mobile

Welcome to the forty-fourth issue of De Programmatica Ipsum, dedicated to the subject of Mobile. In this edition, Adrian argues that using cross-platform UI frameworks is a bad business decision; Graham discusses the current duopoly in the smartphone market; and in the Library section, Adrian reviews the work of Erica Sadun.

The Law Of Diminishing Returns

The myth of the cross-platform mobile application is as old as the iOS + Android duopoly. Back in 2008, a small Canadian company called Nitobi Software released a JavaScript-based framework for cross-platform mobile applications called PhoneGap. Adobe snatched Nitobi in 2011, right after realizing that Steve Jobs was right, and that mobile apps based on Flash were nothing else than a chimera.

On The Duopoly Of Mobile

It is surprising how quickly the duopoly of iOS and Android, Apple and Google, became entrenched. At the 2007 iPhone launch event, Steve Jobs compared the touchscreen-centric iPhone UI with four other competitors: the Moto Q, BlackBerry, Palm Treo, and Nokia E62. The Moto Q ran on Windows Mobile, the last release of which was in 2010. BlackBerry had replatformed onto Android in 2015, joining the duopoly. Palm effectively stopped making anything (even at its new home in HP) in 2011, then popped up again in 2018 making Android devices. The holdout was Nokia, who partnered with Microsoft in 2011, sold to them in 2014, and (as Microsoft Mobile) closed in 2018.

Erica Sadun

iOS developers new to the platform are completely (and thankfully) unaware of its rocky start during its initial years. The first iPhone was announced on January 9th, 2007, and was released in the United States on June 29th that year. The iPhone SDK was announced by Steve Jobs in October 2007, and released in March 2008. But even before the official SDK was first announced, people were already "jailbreaking" the device, and thereby making applications for the iPhone. First-generation iPhone and iPad developers will surely chuckle when reading the words "PwnageTool," "JailbreakMe," and the name of the first App Store, also known as "Cydia."

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