Drew Haninger was the presenter for the next session I attended that was the first one fully focused on mobile devices. Drew is the president of Olive Tree Bible Software and began by talking about their goal at the company. He presented the very crowded mobile landscape and I am sure that surprised many who spend most of their time in the Windows PC or Mac standardized world. There are device trade names, various operating systems, various device and display sizes, and different programming languages.
Drew then spent some time talking about the history of Olive Tree, which he started as a student project back in 1984. In August 1998 the first version of BibleReader for Palm OS devices was released and they have since moved on to supporting the Pocket PC/Windows Mobile, BlackBerry, Symbian (both UIQ and S60), iPod (text only), and other cell phone formats. It is currently available on 12 platforms and they see something like 50,000 downloads a month of their texts.
The common theme in regards to programming language was that C or C++ was on many platforms (Palm, Windows Mobile, Symbian, and maybe the iPhone). I was a bit surprised to hear that development support and tools were the best for Windows Mobile and wonder if this fact has helped propel Windows Mobile past Palm these last few years.
Drew talked about some challenges that they face in development and selling mobile Bible texts. These challenges include:
- Different programming languages
- Data location (local, external memory, “in the cloud”)
- Installation methods (over-the-air, SMS, desktop syncing)
- UI systems (touch, stylus, non-touch)
- Publishers and licensing content
- Customer expectations (desire a desktop experience, users move to different devices often)
I enjoyed listening to Drew and learned quite a bit about the perspectives of the mobile market from a developer/vendor working in this space. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to keep up with the latest operating systems and the various programming languages used by so many different platforms. Unfortunately, I am afraid it will just continue to get even more complicated as Symbian, Windows Mobile, and Apple (with the iPhone) continue to evolve while Google’s Android joins in along with the possibility of a new Palm OS based on Linux. I doubt there will be any consolidation of mobile operating systems and platforms anytime soon as there are too many dynamics in the market with wireless carriers, hardware vendors, software developers, and much more that are not going to go away or combine.
Technorati Tags: BibleTech08