Developing a Mobile Platform

After polling the class, I’ve come to recognize a lot of the obstacles that arise in developing a mobile applications. A majority of the class don’t have Flash Lite capable mobile devices, and the few that do don’t use flash lite applications because data plans are too expensive.

If we tech geeks aren’t using these applications, what are the chances of the general population adopting them? I guess that’s the challenge we as developers must face, if Flash Lite applications are to EVER become popular.

James Eberhardt the Technical Director of “Insert Company Name Here,” came to speak to the IMM class about developing applications for a mobile platform. He demonstrated a few mobile applications (Flickr Upload, QR Codes) using a wifi enabled cell phone.

He’s done work for “The Border” television series on the CBC, which uses QR codes as part of a mobile scavenger hunt – .

QR Codes

QR codes – save time typing; seen on tourist locations, wine bottles, ads

There are some major obstacles for creating mobile content.

  • In Canada to download 1 megabyte of data outside of a data plan costs $20. An average mp3 download would cost $80! The CRTC has recently opened up a new spectrum of radio waves that will allow for new carriers to enter the market . More companies would allow for competitive pricing. Another option for developer’s is to create content that is “on deck” with carrier. “On deck” content is treated separately from regular data, and billed at a discounted rate.
  • Flash Lite – doesn’t support AS3!! Only As2. This is a major gotcha for me, because in IMM we’ve being programming all our projects in AS3. If Flash Lite 3 (recently released) isnt’ capable of AS3, it would be a couple years before hardware and software for phones catches up. James showed us an example of the Flash Lite 3 that supports alpha tweens and transformed video.
  • GPRS not available on Flash Lite.
  • 100’s of different devices with varying interfaces

In order to bring GPS-like capabilities to non-GPS type phones, there is WPS – Wi-Fi Positioning System from Skyhook Wireless. WPS uses terrestrial based Wi-Fi access points to determine location. The iPhone uses this network to triangulate 20 meter position accuracy, in conjuction with cellular network towers.

Murmer is a project that allows users to retrieve oral historical accounts about specific geographic locations from their cell phones.