I’ve had my eyes on the mobile market for years. I’ve started with j2me apps on a motorola phone, and I’ve developed c# based applications for both that phone and ipaq. In general I loved it. I thought the devices and their future held enourmout potential, and today’s mobile application market is getting close to what I had in mind, especially with IPhone.
The trouble is; developing mobile applications is expensive. Yes, you heard me. Capable devices which also has a market are expensive to buy, since you usually need a developer edition of the device. For Iphone, things are even harder, since you have to have a Mac to develop for it. Combine Mac mini (cheapest you can buy and use for the purpose) and a developer iPhone, and you’re looking at something above 1000$ already. For the slightly interested developer this a really high entry cost. Then there is the issue of distribution, where you have to go through a bunch of processes and get approval from someone (Appple, Google etc) to distribute your application.
If we had a platform like the common PC, for which you can simply develop with some open source tools (or free as in beer ones) the mobile market would be in a much better position. The cheapest combination at the moment seems to be to get an Android phone, somehow crack it (I wonder if that’s legal anyway), and develop for it. Still, I’m not sure if Android’s app store would simply let you publish your application if it was developed on a reguler phone, rather than a registered developer device.
Introducing such a barrier to mobile development may be working for the big names for the moment, but I am certainly not happy about it.