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Question: What are considerations for building apps that run on different (mobile) devices?

Answer:

Mobile device differences are far greater then browser similarities.

When you build a browser app, you can assume ...

  • general viewing size of 800x600 or higher.
  • same input device (keyboard, mouse)
  • everyone has flash
  • User is sitting at a desk
  • no special fees for data traffic

When you are dealing with mobile you have to consider

  • very very different screen resolutions (iPad vs iPhone vs Blackberry)
  • different business rules for each device (example, there is no "save as" feature on the iphone to store local pdfs, move ...)
  • lack of plugins or display options
  • touch screen vs track ball vs jog wheel vs stylus
  • user could be using device in car, plane, bed
  • extra fees for data traffic
  • performance of carrier and device
  • multitasking capabilities

The moment your app requires local storage (resp. offline usage), extensive drawing capabilities, extensive usage of native UI features, ..., you have to go for a native App.

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