StackMob, a backend service provider for mobile developers, has emerged as one of the key enablers for connecting mobile apps to the cloud. But the company sees a brighter future beyond being a backend provider. Founder Ty Amell said the growth of connected devices is much bigger than smartphones and tablets and will include all manner of machines, from consoles and TVs to cars and appliances. The opportunity will be to leverage a common platform for apps that can run on all of these devices.
That, Amell, said is going to be HTML5. And with that in mind, StackMob is announcing a hosted HTML5 solution that will make it easier for developers to build HTML5 and hybrid apps that use HTML5 surrounded by a native app wrapper. StackMob will host the apps and connect them to its existing suite of backend services.
The move expands StackMob’s initial offering beyond backend as a service and allows the company to become a more full fledged platform as a service, which Amell said was always the original vision. He said this is the approach to take as the world gets connected, encompassing a wide array of devices.
“People thought of mobile as just phones and tablets but what we’re trying to say is the market is about network connected devices,” Amell said. “It’s hard enough dealing with iOS and android, but when you start getting into thermostats and TVs, it’s going to be impossible. You need a HTML5 solution and custom code.”
Amell said HTML5 provides the flexibility necessary for developers who are able to build more and more apps using the technology. While some games and other high performance apps will still be built in native code, Amell said most apps will eventually be written in HTML5.
StackMob’s expansion also makes sense in light of where the market is going. Appcelerator, which makes tools to help developers build HTML5 and native apps, just bought Cocoafish, a backend service provider and competitor to StackMob. The combination means Appcelerator will be able to offer developer tools on the front end and a host of backend features in the cloud to connect those apps. StackMob is similarly trying to become a much more robust developer resource. And it may have to if Appcelerator developers, who may have used StackMob’s backend services, now choose Cocoafish because it’s integrated into their developer tools.
But overall, it’s another reminder about the growing opportunities with the explosion of connected devices. Cisco said earlier this month that there will be 50 billion web-connected devices in the world by 2020. That’s going to create a lot of business for companies that can help service and connect these new devices.