Applications for mobile phones are getting more and more popular these days since general consumers have finally started to utilize advanced capabilities of their cell phones. Nowadays new applications are proliferating and application stores are springing up. But most of today’s applications need handsets with robust computing power, limiting their potential market. ABI Research firm believes that cloud computing will enable performance-hungry apps on almost any mobile phones.
“Mobile application developers today face the challenge of multiple mobile operating systems. Either they must write for just one OS, or create many versions of the same application. More sophisticated apps require significant processing power and memory in the handset,” said senior analyst Mark Beccue from ABI.
A new architecture based on software running in the cloud will drastically change the way mobile applications are developed, acquired, and used. According to a new study from ABI Research, this will be a profoundly disruptive development that could eclipse the current mobile application model by 2014, delivering revenue of nearly $20 billion annually by the end of that year.
“Using Web development, applications can run on servers instead of locally, so handset requirements can be greatly reduced and developers can create just one version of an application. This trend is in its infancy today, but ABI Research believes that eventually it will become the prevailing model for mobile applications,” explained Mr. Beccue.
This approach is not without challenges, chief among which is intermittent network availability. A cloud-based application stops working if you lose your connection. However new programming languages such as HTML 5 will enable data caching on the handset, allowing work to continue until cellular signal is restored.
“Cloud computing will bring unprecedented sophistication to mobile applications. To mention just a few examples, business users will benefit from collaboration and data sharing apps. Personal users will gain from remote access apps allowing them to monitor home security systems, PCs or DVRs, and from social networking mashups that let them share photos and video or incorporate their phone address books and calendars,” noted the analyst.
Earlier this year Intel Corp. kicked off research to enable cloud computing technologies for mobile devices. Intel's Clone Cloud research aims to make it possible to execute rich applications on resource-constrained mobile devices by off-loading computation to available cloud resources in nearby datacenters. The idea is to "clone" the entire set of data applications from the mobile device onto the cloud and selectively execute some operations on the clones, reintegrating results back to the mobile device.