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Many Developers Not Interested In Pre, Symbian

Developers are more interested in porting applications to Android, iPhone, and BlackBerry, according to a survey by Skyhook Wireless.

Developers looking at making location-based applications aren't very interested in Palm's Pre or Symbian, according to a survey from Skyhook Wireless.

Skyhook developed a hybrid location system that determines where a user is located by using Wi-Fi, GPS, and cell phone towers. The technology has been integrated into multiple mobile platforms, including Android and Symbian.

The company surveyed developers and found that nearly half think integrating location will set their apps apart or add value. These developers want their apps to be able to have exact location data, and 73% said very fast location results are important to the apps' performance. As more and more handsets utilize GPS, Wi-Fi, cell towers, and Bluetooth to determine location, the market for location-based services and applications is expected to swell to $13.3 billion by 2013.

The developers surveyed worked with iPhone, Android, Windows Mobile, and other development environments, and more than half planned to port their apps to another mobile platform. Google's Android operating system fared well, as 58% of non-Android developers were planning to port to that platform.

The iPhone was also a popular platform for developers, as 40% planned to bring their apps to that platform. Apple's App Store has been a runaway hit, and it has seen more than 800 million downloads in less than a year. The upcoming iPhone 3.0 software also could boost developer interest, as it will add peer-to-peer multiplayer, voice chat, and in-app purchasing capabilities.

For comparison, 26% said they would bring their apps to Research In Motion's BlackBerry platform, and 20% will port to Microsoft's Windows Mobile. Neither platform is generating the buzz of the iPhone, but both have a sizeable user base within enterprises.

The developers didn't show much interest in Symbian or Palm's upcoming webOS, as only 9% and 8%, respectively, planned to port apps to those platforms. The news may not be that bad for Symbian, as it will be capable of running many apps that are written in J2ME. But the lack of interest in webOS might put a dent in Palm's plans, as the company will be relying on mobile apps to help it make a comeback.

Most companies are just starting the hard work of mobilizing workforces by bringing the software they use to smartphones. InformationWeek analyzed this issue in an independent report, and it can be downloaded here (registration required).

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