Friday, May 19, 2006

Web to Mobile Applications – Portability and Location

The web is now reaching out through mobile phones creating a space rich in emerging technologies. Applications are appearing in numerous places. Bones in Motion is one of my favorites. The mobile phone keeps track of a runner’s location and sends it back to a web-based application which then tracks his performance. If you’re a biker or runner simply take your phone on a jog, and when you return, your distance, time, and pace are logged on the internet and compared to your previous results.

Berggi started by a long-time friend, Babur Ozden is a social networking software that let’s mobile phone users share files such as mp3-based music and photos. It’s aimed at the Teen and Tween market, and is a good example of how file sharing between mobile phone users can be implemented.

At the recent SxSW festival held in Austin, a social networking software called Dodgeball gained prominent attention due to the large cluster of people using it. Dodgeball let’s you create a list of friends. When you “check-in” it tells you if anyone on your friends-list is in your area say a local restaurant or bar.

Backend technologies from Microsoft have been around for awhile now. With the advent of .NET, Microsoft created a foundation on which to build web-based and then web-mobile applications. Microsoft offers the Advanced System Format which is a file format storing synchronized multimedia data which comes with a series of codecs for encoding, streaming, and playing data from the file format. C# is a popular language for those developing Mobile-Web applications. In this article, the author describes how to convert a C#-based program from the web to a mobile device. It basically boils down to changing the controls, the links, and text font sizes to work on a mobile device.

Nokia lists emerging technologies including web services, Python, SIP, and more.

Radio over the mobile phone is another application. Numerous vendors offer downloads to let you listen to the radio on your phone. Spodradio is one example.

All of these technologies can support Virtual Instrumentation. The mobile phone is simply an extension of the web but adds a new element – Location. For measurement applications, location can be critical. When we were developing the LabVIEW on the PDA numerous users needed to tie their measurement to a geographical position. There was one application on a Navy frigate where the seamen were tasked with making a measurement in a particular location on a ship. If the measured temperature came out over 90 degrees F, then the seaman had to file a report and take corrective action. Surprise, surprise, the measured temperature never came out over 90 degrees but topped out at 89.5 F, most of the time. By tying the measurement with a location, one can truly know what the temperature is.

Best regards,
Hall T.