Mobile, Handheld Computing Devices: Where Does the Web Developer Fit In?

Recently, I was involved in a lively discussion at a ColdFusion and Flex developer conference (BFusion/BFlex) held on the campus of Indiana University in beautiful Bloomington, Indiana. Michael Labriola led the discussion, which took place during his keynote presentation, between a panel of many other developers who are active in the ColdFusion and/or Flex communities. Sometimes it's difficult to articulate your thoughts at the time of a discussion, hence I'm using this medium to do a sort of brain flush at the moment. I'm doing this also because I think the topic of discussion is an important one to consider for those of us who primarily develop applications for the web.

As for expanding the definition of 'who' actually develops applications for the web, I hope to include anyone who is involved in the process of creating rich internet applications (stakeholders, account executives, creative's, designers, developers, etc.).

Mobile Phone vs. Handheld Device

First, I think it's important for 'web' developers to try to disassociate the word 'mobile' from the word 'phone.' I myself prefer to use the word 'handheld' when referring to any type of 'mobile' device. 'Handheld' feels much more inclusive to me than 'mobile.' Whereas 'mobile,' while by itself is probably a more appropriate descriptor, can be more exclusive sounding due to its association with the more specific type of handheld device commonly known as a 'cell phone.' So when I use the word 'handheld,' I am attempting to include 'any type of compact, portable computing device.' I am purposely using a broad definition here since mobile phones only constitute one slice of the larger 'handheld, mobile computing' marketplace.

Don't Hate Apple Because Their Beautiful

Let's face it, Apple has definitely shaken up the market with their lineup of handheld devices including the iPhone and iPod touch. Whether you love, hate or are indifferent to Apple's handheld products, you can't deny that Apple's use of interface design and touchscreen technology has transformed the way other companies are designing and building handheld devices. Not to mention the number of features and available applications! I'm sure that there have been, and will continue to be, many conversations around conference tables about what works, what doesn't work and how the iPhone and iPod touch interfaces can be improved upon. Rather than throw my own subjective opinions into the mix at the moment, I will say that as an iPhone user, I certainly have my list of gripes. However, Apple has most certainly revolutionized how people can actually use a handheld device and interact with each other, the web and beyond.

Application Distribution

Take a moment to review this list of digital distribution platforms for mobile devices from Wikipedia. Considering the fact that the Apple App Store opened on July 10, 2008 and as of September 28, 2009 there are over 85,000 third-party applications available and over 2 billion application downloads to iPhone and iPod touch users, I'd argue Apple has definitely made some in-roads with software developers and end-users alike. Compare that with Google's Android Market with 10,200 applications as of September 2009 and you just might agree.

I'm not suggesting that the model Apple used to create their 'Application Empire' is the right one, but without a doubt, they appear to be doing something right. I most definitely don't agree with some of their practices, but one can't deny their level of success when compared to any other digital distribution platform.

Distributing Handheld Applications via the Web

As of today, reliably deploying an application on the web that is specifically targeted to handheld devices with a web browser is extremely difficult to do, assuming you want to offer anything more than some basic text and a few form fields. While work is currently being done to improve standards on 'technologies to enable Web access anywhere, anytime, using any device,' developers are pretty much left in the rain waiting for handheld manufacturers to adopt these standards and turn them into practices.

Once again, Apple has made significant strides in getting their handheld users online. In AdMob's Mobile Metrics August 2009 report, iPhone's worldwide operating system share has grown from 33 percent to 40 percent in the preceding six months. In addition, iPhone represented 50 percent of US smartphone usage in AdMob's network in August 2009, followed by RIM and Android devices at 14 and 13 percent, respectively.

What truly makes these numbers phenomenal is that Apple's handheld devices actually account for less than 15% of the overall Smartphone OS Market Share. Yet, this small group of users account for half of the US smartphone usage within AdMobs's network. This information more than suggests, it screams that iPhone and iPod touch users are actually using their handheld devices to go online.

As a side note however, it is frustrating that Adobe Flash is not yet supported on Apple's iPhone or iPod touch. Sure, efforts have been made so that iPhone and iPod touch applications can be developed with Flash and ActionScript 3, but users still won't be able to view Flash content delivered via the browser. To be clear, this is not the fault of Adobe. Apple, for whatever reason(s), has chosen not to support Flash at this time.

Final Thoughts

I think it's important for those of us who primarily develop applications for the web to continue our discussions and thoughts on how we can better address the needs of the ever-growing handheld device marketplace.

I believe we can learn from Apple's strengths and weaknesses to find and improve a model of 'handheld application development and distribution.'

I think if designers and developers can learn how to better account for users of handheld devices regardless of whether or not they visit a web site, overall usability can be improved for these users as they look for goods, services and/or information.

These are merely thoughts, and obviously they're constantly evolving ... even while I've been writing this article. I hope my thoughts also inspire you to think about this topic and look forward to reading and/or hearing your thoughts on this subject as well.


I don't work for Apple nor have I received any compensation from Apple for writing this article. I wouldn't mind it if they decided to do so, but as of the date of publication, this has not actually happened. Finally, no handheld devices were harmed in the writing of this article.

A wonderful explanation on mobile, handheld computing devices as well as you also involved in a lively discussion at a ColdFusion and Flex developer conference. I think it's important for those who primarily develop applications for the web and web developer students of Assignment Help Folks -, where they come to receive good assignment help from academic experts who take care of everything to help them pass it with the best possible grade!
# Posted By IDA Wallace | 3/13/18 3:00 AM
Stainless steel rolex replica crown, embossed design watch rose logo, so that replica watches the watch is exceptionally beautiful, full of replica rolex watches rich brand history. It is made of non-slip texture and is swiss replica watches comfortable to use. It makes debugging easier.
# Posted By dh | 3/22/18 9:58 PM
We Provide Our Customers With Latest and up-to-date Dumps Questions & Answers with 100% Exam Passing Guarantee. We Promise Exceptional Success in First Attempt.
# Posted By 500-701 braindumps | 5/8/18 5:15 AM
This Is Really A Great Stuff For Sharing. Keep It Up .Thanks For Sharing.
# Posted By Finance Homework and Project | 7/10/18 1:51 AM
I Must Say We Should Have An Online Discussion On This.
# Posted By Pay Someone To Take My Online Class | 7/10/18 5:38 AM Great informative site. I'm really impressed after reading this blog post. I really appreciate the time and effort you spend to share this with us! I do hope to read more updates from you.
# Posted By anitarom | 10/16/18 12:18 AM
Great article. I totlly liked it. Your entire website is great. I am a finance brokers. We got folks awesome mortgages and other commercial finance.
# Posted By cheap dissertation writing service uk | 12/28/18 6:51 AM
Dollar General Corporation is a famous variety store in the United States. It was established in the year 1939. The company has started the customer satisfaction survey in order to identify the needs of their customers.
# Posted By | 1/18/19 6:38 AM
Well I definitely liked reading it. This article provided by you is very useful for proper planning.
# Posted By singapore hosting company | 5/21/19 11:56 AM
Wonderful post
# Posted By Recover Hacked AOL Email Account | 9/11/19 6:09 AM
I am obliged to read this wonderful blog! looking forward for more such posts.
# Posted By Geek Squad Protection Plan | 9/11/19 6:10 AM
Took me time to read all the comments, but I really enjoyed the article. It proved to be Very helpful to me and I am sure to all the commenters here! It’s always nice when you can not only be informed, but also entertained!
# Posted By talk to strangers | 11/16/19 10:15 PM
<a href=''>Economics Homework Helper</a> the reliable help websites, we can say that assignment help is a reliable one. Their assignment writers across the globe are well trained in their chosen field of study which reflects in multiple offer. It is important to choose the best one among the many. Before choosing the one go for that website reviews first and then check the website like their services.
# Posted By Economics Homework Helper | 6/21/20 11:36 PM
This is the best awesome post for sharing my products and services for online helping the students who could not complete their assignments due to corona-virus
# Posted By Dissertation writing service | 8/4/20 5:33 AM
Amazing and Interesting things to read and learn. Its amazing to find something interesting and cool. Enjoy shayari and dosti shayari and share them.
# Posted By motivation shayari | 9/12/20 2:16 AM
A cell phone (or handheld PC) is a PC sufficiently little to hold and work in the hand. Ordinarily, any handheld PC gadget will have an LCD or OLED flat screen interface, giving a touchscreen interface advanced catches and console or actual fastens alongside an actual console.
# Posted By Write My Assignment Cheap | 12/10/20 7:37 AM
Knovva Academy not only provides learning prospects but also a certificate to encourage students' participation in such productive programs.
# Posted By Best High School in USA | 12/30/20 10:34 AM
I am happy to be here and this wonderful blog. I have found here lots of important information for my knowledge I need. Thanks for sharing this amazing post.
# Posted By AOL Mail Password online | 1/20/21 5:37 AM
Billie Eilish - the youngest person and second person ever to win the four main Grammy categories, was born in December 18, 2001, find out more about her net worth on
# Posted By celeb networth | 1/26/21 1:53 AM
The mind-boggling article it was noteworthy, I like to examine such kind of articles.
# Posted By Escorts in Delhi | 1/30/21 2:02 AM
It is something worth to read just like the available services of BTEC Assignment Help. Hats off to the writer for drafting such an impressive piece of work. To get such kind of content one should hire an assignment writing service.
# Posted By BTEC Assignment Help UK | 3/26/21 1:52 PM
Here at this site really the fastidious material collection so that everybody can enjoy it a lot.
# Posted By parul sharma | 5/31/21 12:11 AM
You can improve notwithstanding. I really express this perfect.Keep seeking after normally valuable.
# Posted By Frankfurt Escorts Agency | 7/5/21 7:05 AM
Remarkable article, it is particularly useful! I quietly began in this, and I'm becoming more acquainted with it better! Delights, keep doing more and extra impressive!
# Posted By Taniya Khan | 7/14/21 9:08 PM
Interesting post. I Have Been thinking about this issue. so an obligation of thankfulness is all together for posting. All around cool post.It 's all around stupifing and Useful post.Thanks.
# Posted By Iemily Arden | 7/20/21 8:40 AM
Your Blog is helpful to me thanks for this helpful post. It's very interesting to read and easy to understand. Thanks for sharing.
# Posted By AOL Mail Not Working on Windows 10 | 7/23/21 8:06 AM
This is one conveniently key character brushing site page that has conveyed an impression of being astonishing resources which insurances instructive activities and materials to the goliath class of point subject.
# Posted By Anisha | 9/11/21 5:12 AM
This is a dispersing pushing article. I am on a focal appraisal substance with your astonishing work. You put to a stunning degree especially strong information. Keep it up. Keep on writing for a blog. Which would need to several rationalities concerning World's best road course like.
# Posted By Somya | 9/11/21 5:13 AM
This is a confusing degree focal post and the course by which you express your beginning and end post nuances that is moronically scrambling. A commitment of appreciation is with the goal for offering us this dazzling post.
# Posted By Anshika | 9/11/21 5:14 AM
Awesome post! This is an OK blog that I will show more occasions to return this year! I was appreciative of the lit post.
# Posted By Karishma Agarwal | 11/16/21 4:59 AM
Great article on Spanish culture, you are such a diamond in the idea of composing, I anticipate the following online journal.
# Posted By Trisha Patel | 11/16/21 4:59 AM
This post is clear and simple to appreciate. I'm learning all other than this. Wish you more things identified with it. You're an astonishing and unprecedented plan.
# Posted By Ananya | 11/16/21 5:00 AM
I might want to thank you for the endeavors you have made recorded as a hard copy of this article. I'm expecting a similar best work from you in the future also. Much appreciated.
# Posted By Rakshita | 11/16/21 5:00 AM
Positive site, where did you think of the data on this posting? I'm satisfied I found it however, I'll return soon to discover what extra posts you incorporate.
# Posted By Vaibhavi | 11/16/21 5:01 AM
ED is the inability to obtain an erection, or the inability to maintain an erection until ejaculation. If you have difficulty achieving a full erection, contact our Jacksonville FL ED clinic speak with a men's health physician.
# Posted By men's sexual health clinic | 11/22/22 1:17 PM

© 2023, Stephen J. Withington, Jr.  |  BlogCFC was created by Raymond Camden – Version 5.9.004

Creative Commons License  |  This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.  |  Hosted by