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Mobile Development Platform Comparison Matrix

Get a side-by-side comparison of the leading mobile development platforms. This breakdown of Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, Windows, webOS and Symbian also includes an at-a-glance matrix of mobile databases.


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Tools Language(s) Cost Devices Documentation Developer Support App Delivery Mechanism Carriers Target Audience
Android

• Android SDK
• Android Development Tools (ADT) plugin on Eclipse 3.4 and 3.5



• Java for native apps
• Android Native Development Kit (NDK) for apps requiring C/C++ libraries

Free, open source; no upfront fees

Smartphones and PDAs from many different manufacturers, including HTC, LG, Motorola and Samsung

SDK provides extensive developer documentation

Complete documentation online (with videos, official Android developer blog and an active Android development community)

• Google Android Market
• Third-party app markets and publication channels

• All major U.S. wireless carriers
• Most major global carriers

Consumers for personal use

BlackBerry

• BlackBerry Java Development Environment (JDE)
• BlackBerry Java Plugin on Eclipse 3.5
• BlackBerry Theme Studio; BlackBerry device simulators

• Java ME + rich set of custom APIs
• Widgets and Web apps (HTML, CSS, and JavaScript)

• Free access to SDK and simulators
• $20 to sign an app
• $200 account fee for every 10 apps on BlackBerry App World
• BlackBerry Alliance Program for ISVs ranging from $2000 to $5000

BlackBerry smartphones in a variety of models

• Javadocs
• BlackBerry Knowledge Base

• RIM community developer forums
• Support for registered RIM ISVs

• Cable-loaded
• Browser
• Java Application Descriptor (JAD) files
• .COD files
• Content aggregators
• BlackBerry App World
• Branded carrier app stores

• All major U.S. wireless carriers
• Most major global carriers

Primarily business users

iPhone

• iPhone SDK
• Ansca Corona
• Appcelerator Titanium Mobile
• Nitobi PhoneGap
• Rhomobile Rhodes
• iUI
• DragonFireSDK
• Unity

• Objective-C
• HTML, CSS and JavaScript

• $99 per year for Apple iPhone Developer Program
• Most developer tools are free, open source, others vary from $99 to $400 per year

• iPhone 3G
• iPhone 4

Apple Developer Program, which is free to join and includes access to the iPhone SDK, iPhone Reference Library and documentation

• Apple Developer Community
• Code-level technical support from Apple for iPhone Developer Program members

• Safari web browser
• Apple's App Store
• iTunes

• US: AT&T
• UK: O2, Orange, Vodafone and T-Mobile
• Germany and Netherlands: T-Mobile
• Canada: Rogers, Telus and Bell Mobility

• Primarily early adopters, young adults
• Enterprise users have been reluctant to jump on board.

Windows Mobile 6.5

Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 Professional Edition or better, but not Visual Studio 2010

Native C++ or supported .NET languages C# or Visual Basic .NET

• Free SDK
• Visual Studio 2008 Professional - $1200
• Application marketplace subscription - $99/year

Smartphones and PDAs from many different manufacturers, including HTC, LG and Samsung

• Microsoft Developer Network and related sites
• Large amount of community content

• Microsoft Professional support
• Free community support

• Through a memory card, network or an ActiveSync connection
• Microsoft Windows Marketplace for Mobile

• All major U.S. wireless carriers
• Most major global carriers

Business and average consumers

Windows Phone 7

• Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Express for Windows Phone
• Expression Blend 4 for Windows Phone

• .NET; C# only
• Silverlight
• XNA

• Prices not finalized yet
• Free SDK, most probably free development tool
• Windows Marketplace for Mobile developer subscription - $99/year

No availability until Q4 2010

Electronic on MSDN and on the SDK

• Microsoft developer support
• Broad community support

Via Windows Marketplace for Mobile

• All major U.S. wireless carriers
• Most major global carriers

Business and average consumers

Palm WebOS

• Palm webOS SDK
• The Mojo framework
• Palm Developer Tools (PDT)

Applications typically written in JavaScript, HTML, AJAX, and other common Web technologies, as well as in C and C++

For a limited time (as of 7/22/2010), HP waiving $99 annual fee for developer account

• Palm Pre, Palm Pixi, Palm Plus
• HP has promised to leverage webOS platform on multiple products, including smartphones, HP slate tablets, and printers.

Plenty of documentation at developer.palm.com

Plenty of support and information at developer.palm.com

The Palm App Store

• All major U.S. wireless carriers
• Most major global carriers

Business and consumer users

Symbian

• Application development kit (ADT)
• An application software development kit (SDK)
• Nokia Qt SDK

• Native language is C++
• Other languages include: Python, Java ME, Flash Lite, Ruby, .NET, Web Runtime, Widgets, VisualBasic and Standard C/C.

A few hundred dollars

• Nearly all devices using Symbian are Nokia phones.
• A few Sony Ericsson phones and one from Arima.

SDKs contain documentation, the header files and library files required to build Symbian OS software, and a Windows-based emulator ("WINS")

Good support through the Symbian Foundation

Nokia's apps store, Ovi Store

• All major U.S. wireless carriers
• Most major global carriers

Business and consumer users



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