Mobile cloud computing provides many advantages for application developers as well as their end-users. It is a boon for corporate users in particular, that do not have enough capital to invest upfront on required hardware and software.
Mobile applications have made smartphones “smart”. The first wave of mobile apps were native apps, however with the increase in Internet capabilities for mobile devices, apps became faster and more powerful, as it was no longer necessary to manage the data storage and processing within the application.
Cloud computing changed mobile application development forever. With benefits like low initial investment, ease of adoption, scalability and elasticity, operational efficiency and large overall cost savings, it didn’t take long for mobile app developers to adopt cloud computing.
Cloud computing offers the performance and flexibility that mobile app developers require. Because smartphones and tablets with advanced browsers are capable of accessing stored applications remotely in the cloud, developers can now build apps one time and deploy them across multiple platforms, including iPhones, iPads, Android devices, etc. In short order, more innovative and useful apps were developed more quickly and cost effectively. With this, the smartphone and app markets began to grow at a remarkable rate that shows no signs of slowing.
Advantages to the users
With cloud-based apps, mobile users do not need high-end hardware and infrastructure to run or maintain mobile apps. Businesses are able to pass along the reduced cost of development to their users, while improving the functionality of data sharing, and offering features like collaboration that were not previously feasible. All told, users with any Internet-enabled device can run many more apps and more powerful apps than ever before, at little or no cost.
Advantages to the developers
The advantages of cloud computing for mobile app developers are most pronounced. One, cost savings. Developers need not invest heavily in building infrastructure and resources. Cloud computing provides instant access to scalable mobile application tools for building mobile and tablet apps. Two, cross-platform app development. Developers can now build an app once and deploy across multiple platforms. And of course, building once and deploying to many devices dramatically reduces the cost of developing apps. Three, deploying apps to app stores and web sites is much easier. For example, developers can avoid device manufacturers or carrier app stores to distribute their apps, and publish them on their own private channels.
The future of mobile apps in the cloud
Despite the many advantages, cloud-based mobile apps will remain hampered by the limitation of wireless bandwidth capacity and intermittent network availability. We expect this will be a short-term problem as new developments in wireless technology are announced every day. In the meantime, alternate techniques like usage of HTML5, which does local caching, enable offline use of apps.
Overall, mobile cloud computing is strong and growing fast. When the limitations on connectivity are resolved, it will become the major player in development and usage of mobile apps.