With the fragmented mobile development landscape forcing developers to make a number of crucial choices, get a high-level comparison of the different platforms and recommendations for what purposes they fit.
by Mikko Kontio
Apr 22, 2008
Page 2 of 3
The Budget Factor
Money has a huge effect on the scope of your mobile development project and on which platform you choose. Symbian is probably the most time-consuming platform and thus the most expensive. On the other hand, MIDP, Windows Mobile (with Visual Basic), and even SMS can be quite fast and cheap. Table 1 summarizes some of the budgetary characteristics of each platform.
Table 1. Budgetary Characteristics of Mobile Platforms: Money has a huge effect on the scope of your mobile development project and on which platform you choose.
SMS and MMS
You can use standard web development languages such as Java or PHP, which you either already knowor you can learn. You also need web space for your scripts, and you need a contract with your local mobile service provider (if it offers third-party APIs).
Development tools are free (although commercial tools are available), which makes development cheaper. MIDP APIs are quite easy, and a small team can create a complete application.
Symbian probably is the most difficult to master, and thus the most expensive, but it also is rewarding because the software is reliable and Symbian applications enjoy a good reputation among users. This means that people are willing to pay more for a Symbian application than for a MIDP application.
Windows Mobile development is pretty straightforward, if you're familiar with Microsoft's technologies and fluent with Visual C++.
You can download free development tools from ACCESS and buy support for a small fee. Of course, you will need to allot the time to learn the tools, but Garnet OS development is about as demanding as Windows Mobile development.
You can get the iPhone SDK for free from Apple's website. If you want to test your application in a real device, you have to apply to the iPhone Developer Program, which will cost you between $99 and $299. Development is done with Objective-C and thus might take a while to master.
You can get the development SDK for free, and since all applications are treated equally, you don't have to pay extra to be able to sell your applications.