Tonight was the inaugural meeting of the Mobile Monday Chapter for Grand Rapids, MI. The event was chiefly sponsored by Verizon and featured some leaders from various mobile leaders in the area, both from the development and business side. Among the panelists were two people that I have had the great pleasure to get to talk to over the years: Carl Erikson and Jon Johnston. Carl is the head of Atomic Object, one of top consulting firms in Grand Rapids (and Michigan). He is someone that I have a lot of respect for as he has built his consulting company the right way and are always near the forefront on the new technologies.
One of the interesting topics that Carl brought up was the notion that in some cases, depending on need and desire, mobile may precede the web side of an application. This was a new concept for me that I hadn’t considered, since generally I feel you need to flush out the SOA architecture before you can expose it for mobile development. Carl hinted at the intimacy we often associate with our smart devices and how they become integral components of our lives as the impetus for this trend. Indeed, if you look at a service such as foursquare and ask, how often do you visit their website? Many services are settling for exposing enough functionality through their API that you don’t even need the site anymore as the functions can all be carried out by a device that, for all intents and purposes, is always with you, always connected, and always available.
Joe, I have had the privilege to talk with often, is a UI specialist for the nationally famous Universal Mind. UI is a huge, huge thing in mobile, much more so then any other content delivery mechanism of the past. Joe made some excellent points especially with regard to the major obstacle of mobile app development going web based, the conventions used by each device based on its platform; ie the hard buttons on Android devices and the lack thereof on iPhone devices.
Perhaps the biggest question I have regarding these devices is the battery. Indeed, I think we are fast approaching a point were we must investigate alternative battery technologies as our device requirements are fast outpacing what batteries can provide (my phone can barely make it through the day and I know plenty of people who regularly have to charge theirs during the day), 4G is an excellent example of this.
The next meeting of the group is August 8th at a location to be determined. As I will be traveling through Japan at that time, I will not be able to attend, but I look forward to the September session. More information can be garnered here.