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Cloud Talk

Andre Yee

Apps for Tablets - It's Not Just About the iPad Anymore

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If you're developing applications for the tablet market, until now, the conventional wisdom has been to develop for iOS and forget the rest. It makes complete sense when iPad traffic accounts for 97% of all tablet related Internet traffic in US and 89% worldwide.

Yep, 97% is what you call DOMINANCE. However, that might not be the case for long as signs point to increasing adoption of Android tablets.

Perhaps what happened in the smartphone market points to the future of tablets.

While iOS never dominated smartphones by market share, it nonetheless had a fast uptick in the first couple of years, slotting into #2 spot - 25.1% in Jan 2010 with Microsoft and Palm losing ground. But take a look at more recent stats from Nielsen, reporting that Android is now the leading smartphone OS with 39% while Apple iOS continues to hold onto second place with 28%.

The Android story in smartphones may play out in the tablet market as well. This Mashable writeup reports that tablet market will explode from 20M units to over 230M units in 2015. During that same period, iOS market share will shrink to 38%, mostly supplanted by Android tablets.

The point is Android isn't just a niche play anymore. Thinking iOS first may be still OK, but thinking iOS solely isn't. In the near future, you'll need to be developing with a tablet cross-platform strategy in mind. If so, what are your options?

This is nowhere near a comprehensive listing, but here are a few options to consider:

Appcelerator's Titanium Platform - one of the advantages of using Appcelerator is that it allows you to code in Javascript while retaining advantages of using native APIs. Appcelerator enables the rendering natively either as Objective-C calls into iOS API or Java calls into Android API. It also has local device storage and an extensible plug-in architecture

PhoneGap - the granddaddy of mobile cross platform development. Phonegap is opensource and has been around for a while. Phonegap allows you to build with web standards - HTML5, Javascript - and like Appcelerator provides a bridge to native mobile/tablet OS APIs.

A couple of others to note - Rhomobile (for Ruby developers), Sproutcore 2.0 (HTML5 based, refactored for mobile, currently in beta)

Andre Yee blogs about cloud computing, SaaS, Web 2.0 and other emerging technologies that matter to businesses.

Andre Yee

Andre Yee is an entrepreneur and technologist with nearly 20 years of experience in the business of technology.

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