RealTime IT News

AppForge Updates Wireless Developer Tool

AppForge, which makes wireless software and offers services, has released Mobile Visual Basic 4.0, a mobile and wireless development tool that supports Palm's operating system 5 and integrates into Microsoft's Visual Studio environment and the Nokia Series 60 devices, whose licensees make up more than 60 percent of the mobile handset market.

MobileVB 4.0, which will be offered with a free runtime environment, lets developers write cross-platform applications and distribute them on most of the leading mobile and wireless devices, including Palm OS, Pocket PC, and Symbian UIQ, Series 60, and Series 80 PDAs and smartphones.

Palm OS developers use MobileVB to create applications within Visual Studio. MobileVB ships with more than 30 standard controls, as well as modules and libraries for database synchronization, telephony, and gaming. MobileVB applications can be tested from within the Visual Studio IDE and compiled into packages for distribution.

Because MobileVB 4.0 supports Palm OS 5, Microsoft developers can create mobile applications and deploy them on more than 90 percent of current mobile and wireless gadgets.

For Atlanta-based AppForge, this means the company will be granted a lot of exposure in the wireless development tools realm, where Symbian, Handango and Palmsource all create products to prepare for what many research companies believe will be an explosion in wireless device purchases in the U.S. and worldwide in the future.

To compensate, developers in both the Microsoft .NET and Java camps have been coding away to create applications for devices in the hopes of garnering developer mindshare and customer marketshare. However, the wireless device explosion has not yet happened.

The worldwide market for handheld devices continued to decline in the second quarter of 2003 due to seasonality and sluggish demand from businesses and consumers alike. According to IDC, worldwide handheld device shipments fell by 10.7 percent year-on-year in 2Q 03 and dropped sequentially by 10.2 percent to 2.27 million units.

Despite sluggish handheld sales, Charlie Tritschler, vice president of product marketing, PalmSource, said he anticipates the solution will further advance the Palm OS platform in the enterprise market.

To bolster the number of applications available for mobile and wireless devices, AppForge is making its runtime environment Booster, which enables handheld devices to run applications written with AppForge MobileVB and Microsoft Visual Basic, available for free.

Sony Ericsson Developer Program Director Ulf Wretling said offering runtime licenses for free will make Booster an even more attractive solution for applications developers. By extension, it should increase the number of applications consumers can use.

AppForge's MobileVB 4.0 version is listed at a suggested retail price of $899 and will be ready for the public in October 2003. However, those who purchase MobileVB between September 1 and the release of MobileVB 4.0 will receive a free upgrade to 4.0. Other registered users of MobileVB can upgrade for US $249.

When MobileVB 4.0 is released next month the AppForge Booster for Palm OS 5 can be downloaded free here.