Multi platform mobile development tools

VisionMobile - Cross-Platform Tools 2012We are proud to announce the launch of Cross-Platform Tools 2012 – the free, industry-first report on cross-platform developer tools. You can . Cross-platform tools (CPTs) allow developers to create applications for multiple platforms with a small incremental cost. Their impact is both tactical in allowing developers to target more platforms, but also strategic in having the potential to disrupt the Apple/Google duopoly in mobile ecosystems.

Our report is based on a 6-month project, comprising a large-scale online developer survey (nearly 2, 500 respondents) combined with meticulous research, vendor interviews and analysis of this complex market of over 100 tools vendors. This report would not have been possible without the support of Marmalade, RunRev, Verizon Developer Communities, Xamarin and the many other companies behind this multi-sponsored project.

Cross-platform tools (CPTs) solve real challenges today; they allow developers to create applications for multiple platforms – usually mobile, but increasingly tablets or TV screens – from almost the same codebase or from within the same design tool. CPTs reduce the cost of platform fragmentation and allow developers to target new platforms at a small incremental cost.VisionMobile-Cross-Platform_Tools_Mindshare More importantly, cross-platform tools allow software companies targeting multiple platforms to reuse developer skills, share codebases, synchronise releases and reduce support costs.

Early leaders in the cross-platform tools space

Our survey revealed that PhoneGap and Sencha lead in terms of mindshare, as they are currently used by 32% and 30% of cross-platform developers, irrespective of their primary tools. Completing the top-5 ranking of our Mindshare Index are Xamarin’s MonoTouch / Mono for Android, Appcelerator and Adobe (Flex). The second half of the top-10 CPTs in terms of current use are Unity, Corona, AppMobi, RunRev and MoSync.

PhoneGap (23%), Xamarin Mono (22%) and Unity (22%) are the tools most developers plan to adopt, irrespective of their primary tool. This market is in constant flux, with developers experimenting and trying out new tools – for example PhoneGap is a stepping stone to cross-platform development as it leads Mindshare, IntentShare, but also comes third in the tools being abandoned. The most widely used CPT accounts for just half of the Mindshare seen in the iOS and Android platforms in our Developer Economics 2011 report.

Cross-platform tools challenge the Apple/Google duopoly

The real impact of cross-platform tools is strategic. Just as the Apple/Google duopoly began to look impenetrable in 2011, a major disruption is flattening the playing field for competitors like Microsoft’s WP7, RIM’s BlackBerry OS and Samsung’s Bada: cross-platform tools are letting developers target multiple platforms with low incremental costs and high levels of code reuse.

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