Mobile application development

Mobile application development is the process by which application software is developed for low-power handheld devices, such as personal digital assistants, enterprise digital assistants or mobile phones. These applications are pre-installed on phones during manufacture, can be downloaded by customers from various mobile software distribution platforms, or web applications delivered over HTTP which use server-side or client-side processing (e.g. JavaScript) to provide an "application-like" experience within a Web browser.


Execution environments

Android, iOS, BlackBerry, HP webOS, Symbian OS, Bada from Samsung, and Windows Mobile support typical application binaries as found on personal computers with code which executes in the native machine format of the processor (the ARM architecture is a dominant design used on many current models). Windows Mobile can also be compiled to x86 executables for debugging on a PC without a processor emulator, and also supports the Portable Executable (PE) format associated with the .NET Framework. Windows Mobile, Android, HP webOS and iOS offer free SDKs and integrated development environments to developers.


Platform development environment

Each of the platforms for mobile applications also has an integrated development environment, which provides tools to allow a developer to write test and deploy applications into the target platform environment.

Click here to see summarized the elements in each of the development environments.


Mobile application testing

Mobile applications are first tested within the development environment using emulators and later subjected to field testing. Emulators provide an inexpensive way to test applications on mobile phones to which developers may not have physical access. The following are examples of tools used for testing application across the most popular mobile operating systems.

  • Google Android Emulator

It is Android Emulator which is patched to run on a Windows PC as a standalone app without having to download and install the complete and complex Android SDK. It can be installed and Android compatible apps can be tested on it.

  • Official Android SDK Emulator

It includes a mobile device emulator which mimics all of the hardware and software features of a typical mobile device (without the calls).

  • eggPlant for mobile testing:eggPlant delivers a robotic solution to mobile testing across all operating systems and devices.
  • MobiOne

MobiOne Developer is a mobile Web IDE for Windows that helps developers to code, test, debug, package and deploy mobile Web applications to devices such as iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, and the Palm Pre.

  • TestiPhone

It is a web browser based simulator for quickly testing iPhone web applications. This tool has been tested and works using Internet Explorer 7, Firefox 2 and Safari 3.

  • iPhoney

It gives a pixel-accurate web browsing environment and it is powered by Safari. It can be used while developing web sites for the iPhone. It is not an iPhone simulator but instead is designed for web developers who want to create 320 by 480 (or 480 by 320) websites for use with iPhone. iPhoney will only run on Mac OS X 10.4.7 or later.

  • BlackBerry Simulator

There are a variety of official BlackBerry simulators available to emulate the functionality of actual BlackBerry products and test how the BlackBerry device software, screen, keyboard and trackwheel will work with application.

  • ZAP-fiX for Mobile Application Testing:ZAP-fiX delivers a universal solution to mobile application testing across all operating systems and devices.



  • Mobile Application Testing Services: prowessweb is a full-service custom mobile applications development company providing solutions for iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad, Android Mobile, Android Tablets, Windows 7 and Kindle Fire.
  • This is a crowdsourced service for Android and iPhone applications, offering application testing by real users with real devices.
  • Monkey Talk: This is a free Mobile Application Testing tool for iOS, Android, HTML 5, and Flex applications
  • eggPlant: A GUI based automated test tool for mobile application across all operating systems and devices.
  • Robotium: This is an automation tool for Android Mobile Application
  • Sikuli: This is a visual technology to automate and test graphical user interfaces (GUI) using images.
  • KeynoteDeviceAnywhere: This is an automation tool for Mobile Application across all platforms, all devices.
  • MITE: A Mobile content testing and validation tool for Mobile Web application.
  • Monkey Runner: A Mobile application testing tool for Android.
  • ZAP-fiX: enhances test automation by allowing enterprise testing of mobile applications. It provides modular test coverage across multiple operating systems and supports testing on multiple devices simultaneously. Supported platforms are iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry, webOS and Windows Mobile.
  • Appsbar: An online service for building and publishing apps for iPhone, Android and HTML5 devices.


Application stores

Several initiatives exist both from mobile vendor and mobile operators around the world. Application developers can propose and publish their applications on the stores, being rewarded by a revenue sharing of the selling price. Most famous is Apple's App Store, where only approved applications may be distributed and run on iOS devices (otherwise known as a walled garden). With extraordinary speed Google's Android Market counting (at the moment) the 2nd largest number of apps and which are running on devices with Android OS. HP / Palm, Inc have also created the Palm App Catalog where HP / Palm, Inc webOS device users can download applications directly from the device or send a link to the application via a unique web distribution method. Recently, mobile operators such as Telefonica Group and Telecom Italia have launched cross-platform application stores for their subscribers. Additionally, mobile phone manufacturers such as Nokia has launched Ovi app store for Nokia smartphones. The Windows Phone Marketplace is the fastest growing application store in history, with more than 100,000+ apps (including Xbox games) available as of 7-11-2012.



There are many patents applications pending for new mobile phone apps. Most of these are in the technological fields of Business methods, Database management, Data transfer and Operator interface.


Patent enforcement

On May 31, 2011, Lodsys asserted two of its four patents: U.S. Patent No. 7,620,565 ("the '565 patent") on a "customer-based design module" and U.S. Patent No. 7,222,078 ("the '078 patent") on "Methods and Systems for Gathering Information from Units of a Commodity Across a Network." against the following application developers:

  • Combay
  • Iconfactory
  • Illusion Labs
  • Shovelmate
  • Quickoffice
  • Richard Shinderman of Brooklyn, New York

Wulven Game Studios of Hanoi, Vietnam