Mobile applications have piqued the interest of developers. First, the iPhone redefined what a phone was: it looked a lot like a Web browser, really. Then, Apple opened an iPhone App store that promised developers an opportunity to write and sell an application to a new mass audience. The year 2009 looks gloomy for mobile phone sellers. But converged mobile devices, the kind the iPhone epitomizes, are expected to fare far better than traditional ones.
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Clearly, when one is on the road, one sees more and more knowledge workers pecking away at handheld devices. Although these machines have tons more memory than in the past, they still are basically working remotely, hitting on a server somewhere, and dealing with the world via services.
Behind the scenes will emerge a whole new class of mobile app development tools, writes John K.Waters in our lead story, "Shifting ground for mobile development."