NAVmoble - the pocket-sized ERP
Optimized for Microsoft Dynamics NAV and Windows Mobile powered devices

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Motorola Mobility Event in Sofia

I was at the Motorola Mobility Event in Sofia. The event was supported by Microsoft and Zebra. The goal of the event was to present the Motorola mobility solutions in front of the local image Microsoft Partners.
Motorola presented their mobility portfolio targeted to business users. Zebra also presented their products. There were other companies presenting their products and services related to the mobility like RRC.

The content of the event was interesting and the Motorola and Zebra presenters were well prepared. The event sessions were mostly in English. There was only one in Bulgarian and that was mine. I presented a success story regarding a mobility solution were I was involved based on Motorola hardware and NAVmobile

There were not many people at the event, but the food and drinks were plenty.

This event was the best one regarding the mobility in our region. Motorola presented their business vision about the local mobility market and shared great ideas about the ways to target new business niches. There were good options for business networking with the guys around.


Motorola Mobility Web Site
NAVmobile web site
Zebra web site

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Windows Phone Series 7 Announced


Microsoft finally announced the latest personal mobile OS – Windows Phone Series 7 at the Mobile Wolrd Congress in Barcleona

It has new UI metaphor, Facebook and Xbox Live integration, contextual search,  Zune alike features and more. Checkout the video for features overview from the Program Manager Joe Belfiore




It is still early to talk about the features in depth and especially for the development experience.

More info about the development approach will be announced at MIX10



Following a video about the features ( User point of view )


Here comes a video about the partners supporting the new mobile platform:

There is still lack of details about the features and the developer story.


Some rumors ( non-verified ) via More Windows Mobile 7 rumors...grab some salt!

    · WP7 supports both Sliverlight (out of browser) and XNA
    · Silverlight apps developed using Expression Blend 3.x and VS2010
    · MS will release a mobile version of VS / Expression which will be free, and VS2010 / Expression Pro will have a free add-on
    · No .NET CF support, only Silverlight
    · Isolated storage which is accessible using LINQ
    · No multi-tasking (applications will pause when in the background, however they will support notifications using the MS Push Notifications environment)
    · No .NET CF backwards compatibility, however a proportion of the data and business logic in .NET CF could be ported
    · No MS manufactured device, however much tighter control of manufacturing process, so as an example each device has a 3D processing chipset, and MS provide all of the device drivers. So no platform builder. This enables OTA updates and simplified model for ODM’s
    · Marketplace will support buy and try before you buy, as well as an API
    · ODM / OEM will not be able to modify the “Start” screen, so no more HTC Sense / TouchFlo etc.
    · Browsing experience is currently faster / better than iPhone 3G, and they are aiming towards 3GS.
    · Browser is based upon desktop IE7 codebase, but with some IE8 functionality
    · No in browser Flash or Silverlight
    · Integration with XBOX Live, and ability to purchase games
    · Use of Zune software for music, videos, photos sync
    · Supports app installation through service based delivery i.e. marketplace, so no side-loading




Windows Phone Series
Windows Phone 7 Series faces off against its Windows Mobile past
Editorial: Engadget on Windows Phone 7 Series
More Windows Mobile 7 rumors...grab some salt!

Monday, February 08, 2010

Cross platform mobile development


The mobile device market is quite fragment these days. We have the mighty iPhone , Andorid , Blackberry,Simbian, Maemo, Brew ,Windows Mobile powered devices and so on.
Publishing software compatible with all these mobile platform is quite a challenge. What is the current situation , regarding the mobile cross-platform development?

The Market

I will not make an exhaustive market analysis here, but will share some thoughts. The mobile device market is changing rapidly during the last few years. One reason is the entrance of the new major players – iPhone and Andorid.  They forced the old players like Nokia, Sony Erricson , RIM, Microsoft and everybody else to hurry up and catch the train. Apple gave us the new fresh air, which the mobile business needed for years. The old dinosaurs chasing low-risk profits forgot about the main engine of the current technological business – the innovation!
Apple was the one to make them remember that innovation (both technological and business) is not a dirty word and actually may increase profits. Yes the innovation and risk go hand in hand, but that’s way : ideas, passion, commitment and risk.

No more drama! I’m back on the topic….

The following chart provides information about the preferences of the users to some of the current mobile platforms: image

the chart is copied from PDASNEWS.COM

The chart is to gave the overall tendency. And the tendency is we do not have a major player and it is still important to target multiple mobile platforms with a single code base.  I must say that the figures here are showing the end-user preferences. The preferences of the business user are quite different, because besides the fancy UI and the improved user experience there are may other factor considered by the businesses like robustness, security, development experience, management, integration to existing infrastructure and others.

The ability to target multiple mobile platforms is dependent on the organization skillset and the corresponding platforms development tools. The following table contains a brief comparison between some of the major players in terms of development tools and technologies:


the table contains information from the following source

The table is focused over the official ( standard ) tools provided. Some of the platforms provide support for additional development tools /technologies not mentioned here.

It is obvious, that the native development tools may not be used for cross-platform development.  The Native APIs toolsets are very different.  The Adobe Flash and Java are not supported by iPhone. The Andorid’s Dalvik VM is not aligned with the Java ME standard, so in general, the Java ME development is not an option. There are third party Java VMs for Android like the MicroEmulator.

The actual decision about the dev tools is mainly business driven. It is important for the organization to identify the platforms, which will provide the best business outcome for specific project. So, if you target the iPhone market only  - go and place Objective-C on top of your skillset. If you target Symbian and BlackBerry – go with Java ME.

Aside note:  The development limitations are sometimes not just a technological limitation, but a limitation created on purpose driven by the vendor’s marketing war to lock the developers on their platforms. I think Google and Apple are the champs here!

The HTML/Javascript approach

A very discussed approach lately is the HTML/Javascript development – a.k.a. Web/Internet/Ajax development. The table shows that each of the platforms provide HTML/Javascript support. It is very important to note that the actual support for javascript and HTML may differ between the platforms  but it is still an option.
There is criticism about the approach mainly related to the following:

  • Connected model
    In general the HTML/Javascript apps requires connection with the application(web) server.  The limitation is coming  from the limited access to the underlying platform resources and the lack of persistence for example.
  • Sandboxing
    The Javascript code is running in a sandbox and in general (some platforms provide proprietary Javascript extensions) there is no programmatic access to the file system, relational databases, device hardware (gps, Bluetooth, serial comms, accelerometers and others), graphic libraries, …

However, there are number of technologies/products determined to give a solution for the sandbox problem by providing a native-to-javascript bridge to the underlying platform resources.



Following products/technologies providing mobile cross-platform development features:

Open-source (MIT license) project providing device-native container for HTML/javascript applications. The  device-native container serves as a javascript-to-native bridge providing access to location services, accelerometer, SqLite access, file system and more. It is supported on iPhone, Andorid, BlackBerry, Symbian,Palm , Windows Mobile(experimentally) and Maemo
(experimentally) . The project provides a native container app(the javascript-to-native bridge) for each supported platform. However the web app (html,javascript) remains the same for each platform.
Primary skillset:  HTML, Javascript



Open-source (Apache License 2.0) project supporting iPhone and Andorid. There are plans for BlackBerry support , but not a fact yet. No official plans for Windows Mobile support.
The project is in a beta status and is currently free of charge. The production version will be paid, however there will be free entry version and it will remain open-source.The commercial license price is not announced yet.  
Primary skillset:  HTML, Javascript

Titanium translates your hard won web skills into native applications that perform and look just like they were written in Objective-C [iPhone] or Java [Android]. With over 300 APIs, a thriving developer community6, and the support you need, you can build applications that are more social, local, media rich, interactive, and extensible.



Rhodes is an open source(GPL) framework to rapidly build native apps for all major smartphone operating systems (iPhone, Windows Mobile, RIM, Symbian and Android). Write your code once and immediately build apps for every major smartphone. These are true native device applications which work with synchronized local data and take advantage of device capabilities such as GPS, PIM contacts and camera.
They are actually providing dual licensing model – GPL and commercial.
  • Primary skillset:  Rubby, HTML,Javascript

    MoSync is a dual license open-source(GPL) framework.
    MoSync applications are written in ANSI C/C++ using our bundled Eclipse-based IDE running on Microsoft Windows. From a single code base, MoSync can build the hundreds of device-specific application variants. MoSync relies on specialized function libraries that enable it to port your application to many different mobile devices. Since the MoSync libraries are by necessity not always exactly the same as the standard C/C++ libraries, you will need to tweek you code to get it working in MoSync. However, you only have to fix your code once to be able to run it on all compatible MoSync-supported mobile phones, generating huge savings in time and cost.
    It provides support for Android,Java ME ,Symbian S60 ,Windows Mobile ,Moblin.
    Commercial license will be provided as well, but the price is not announced yet. 
  • Primary skillset:  C/C++