The advent of powerful, user-friendly smart phones with always-on Internet connection has heralded a new era in mobile computing. For businesses, there is a new channel to reckon with, which, if properly utilized, is a powerful medium to connect with customers, suppliers and employees. The mobile channel has both advantages and disadvantages vis-à-vis the traditional Internet accessed through the desktop. For one, the screen sizes are much smaller compared to a desktop or even a netbook. The form factor is not the same. Users interact differently too. Instead of point-and-click, they touch, pinch or flick. On the other hand, mobile applications are more easily accessible and are location aware. All this means you have to chalk out a solid mobile strategy before taking the plunge.
At Stegoc we can help your organization chart out a mobile strategy and implement it. The strategic decisions to make include whether to use mobile-web or go native, what phones to support and the type of architecture based on the reliability of the connection. Mobile-web works across most smart phones with no need to rewrite the application for each device. However, it does not work if the phone is not connected to the network like when you are in an airplane or inside a building where the carrier's signals have no reach.
However if you go for a smart-client architecture, data can be cached in a local database within the mobile. This will allow users to use the application even when there is no network. The application architecture can get quite complex though - the effects of data being stale must be thought through.
The popular smart phone platforms in the market today are iPhone, BlackBerry, Android and Windows Mobile (WinMo for short). Unfortunately, each of these phones have different development SDKs and APIs, and that rules out the write-once-run-anywhere paradigm at least for the time being. That said, proper design of the app can reduce porting costs to multiple platforms. One strategy is to keep all business logic on the server-side, thereby keeping the client thin.
In addition to programming smart phones, Stegoc also has experience with Java for Mobile (previously J2ME) programming. J2ME is cross platform and works on any mobile with Java support including most models from Nokia, Motorola and Sony Ericsson.