Amazon Web Services jumped on the mobile-application development bandwagon today with software development kits (SDKs) for both the Google Android and Apple iOS operating systems. According to Amazon Web Services evangelist Jeff Barr on the AWS blog, the SDKs will help mobile developers create “lean” applications to ease the strain on mobile devices’ limited memory. This isn’t groundbreaking news by AWS terms, but it underscores the need for cloud providers – even the mighty AWS – to target the increasingly important mobile-developer market.
For evidence, we need look no further than yesterday’s big Salesforce.com-Heroku news. Heroku is hosting more than 100,000 applications on its platform, many of them mobile. In the official press release, Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff highlighted the importance of Heroku’s traction among developers of mobile applications: “The next era of cloud computing is social, mobile and real-time. … We think this acquisition will uniquely position salesforce.com as the cornerstone for the next generation of app developers.” Earlier in the week, Salesforce.com also made mobile applications a focal point of its new Database.com offering, as did Joyent with new gaming packages.
The rationale behind connecting cloud computing and mobile apps is pretty clear, as mobile devices have limited computing capacity, while cloud platforms have boundless amounts of it. Connected via a high-speed network, it’s a great way to offload certain computing and data-storage tasks. Clouds also provide a relatively pain-free method testing and development, even if the apps ultimately run on the device alone. Early on, at least, the key to cloud success is attracting developers, and mobile developers are multiplying fast as mobile devices displace desktops. That we’ll see even more cloud providers target Android and iOS developers – and Microsoft target Windows Phone developers – seems like a safe bet.
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