Only a few weeks ago, apple opened its application store offering third-party developers a platform for distributing application. Although the majority of available applications are games, funny applications or even protoypes, there is an increasing number of enterprise applications.
Oracle was one of the first vendor of enterprise software releasing an iPhone frontend for its Business Indicator. ZDNET states in this article that Oracle’s software was more than 23k times downloaded since its release. However, also further vendors of enterprise applications such as SAP, Salesfroce.com, and Sybase release appliactions designed for mobile devices, such as the iPhone or the RIM Blackberry.
It seems that the next wave of mobile development is here. The last wave was initiated by the rapid decrease of costs for mobile digital assisstents (PDAs) and their availability. “Mobile applications” of this generation were designed for offline scenarios making synchronization necessary. Typical examples are handhelds being shared among a group of technicians, synced once in the morning with tasks for the day. In the evening the tasks are reported back to backend systems during the last sync phase of the day. Obviously, this scenario only works in non-time critical segments. For instance, power suppliers need to react in specified response times making real time communication necessary. With the increasing availability of mobile data network such as WiFi and UMTS/Edge the always-on application becomes reality. Hardware such as the iPhone or the RIM Blackberry are the necessary platform for the development of the next generation mobile applications.