I am a software developer; therefore I am a mobile developer

Firstly let me be clear. I am not a software developer, but I am a software-focused reporter, journalist or hack depending on your preferred term. The reason for this story is to highlight a reality, which I first heard described nearly a decade ago by an Australian .NET guru called Dr Neil Roodyn.

Dr Neil’s opinion was that all applications (in some form) will migrate to the mobile device. Whether it’s a simple forms-based application used by a retail store worker or a complex military-grade secure database application, if it has spent some of its natural life on the desktop – then it will “evolve” to mobile.


Way back at the start of the ‘noughties’ when I first heard of this concept I was prepared to accept it. Today we see the concept taken further, so that companies that specialise in cross-platform GUI development such as Qt talk about ‘a consistent user experience across all devices’.

You want to read your diary on your fridge’s fronted mount user interface display in the same form that you see it on your PC – don’t you?

So enough theorising, Juniper Research‘s “Mobile App Stores: Business Models, Strategies & Market Segmentation 2010-2015” report claims that the combined revenues from mobile applications, value-added services and advertising is expected to rise from just under $10 billion in 2009 to $32 billion in 2015.

Released early last month, the report’s author Dr Windsor Holden cautions that while Apple’s App Store is achieving billions of downloads, developers must not ignore users of other platforms/handsets. Perhaps he would have been better to caution developers to look upwards and see their apps as desktop equivalents in the first instance before even worrying about which mobile platform they would port to.

I might sound like a broken record here, but interoperability will be key here.

Join the conversation


Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.

Desktop applications that have hundreds of thousands or millions of users have already proven their value to the people that use them on a regular basis. One would think a developer would leverage the success of the desktop application and create a mobile extension to it. I'm not a developer either but it makes sense to me that an application that has value on the desktop would have the same value (more or less depending on its function) on a mobile device. Obviously using a word processing application makes no sense because of the small screen sizes and keyboard limitations on smartphones. But even tablets are addressing this problem. At the end of the day though, I have to agree with you that interoperability is key. Great post! Colin
Thanks for your reply Colin - let's hope the mobile application space doesn't become too "closeted"... if you know what I mean.
Mobile apps are probably some of the most interesting development around at the moment. For me they bring back memories of when I started programming with very limited resources and as such make you a more careful programmer. I have great respect for Dr.Roodyn but I think his comment was around the time that mobiles were looking for a problem. For many years they were and to some respects they still are, a solution without a problem. The advent of the smartphone, where PDA meets phone has given them at least temporary life and as much as the vendors talk up the mobile it is still consumer matters that are the selling point. The social media sell is still the main push. Even my own mobile applications have been so far bespoke, yet customers are asking for a mobile version of my security application yet for field engineers who have little regard for the fragility of these devices especially the screen and ruggedized devices increase the cost per user dramatically, I still see that there is a way to go with mobile development. I for one hope that Windows Mobile 7 is a runaway succes, this does not however change the device cost issue.