A Crimson Consulting case study posted last week to MSDN documents the efforts of Luke Thompson, a developer with Seattle-based application development firm Gripwire.com, to port his company's popular Amplitude application from the iPhone to an HTC Touch Pro running Windows Mobile 6.5.
Amplitude picks up sounds that are inaudible to the human ear, amplifies them and displays them on the device through a graphical user interface. Gripwire, which sells several applications through Apple's App Store, decided to port Amplitude from the iPhone to have it ready when Microsoft launches its Windows Marketplace For Mobile this fall.
The case study makes a number of comparisons that suggest Windows Mobile development is easier than iPhone development. For example, Windows Mobile developers can work almost entirely within Visual Studio while iPhone developers have to switch between several different applications to access the same range of functions, according to the case study.
"What I'm finding is that it's harder to mess up with C# than in Objective-C, which is used for iPhone application development. This makes any extra effort needed to customize the classes I want worthwhile," Thompson said in the case study.
Andrew Brust, chief of new technology for twentysix New York, a Microsoft partner in New York City, said Windows Mobile's excellent integration with Exchange and its general corporate acceptance support the case study's premises. "I could see that certain classes of applications written for iPhone would migrate very advantageously to Windows Mobile," he said.
Brust says the notion of porting from iPhone to Windows Mobile has merit, but he considers the work outlined in the case study to be a niche scenario. "Honestly, I would see more merit in the reverse: something that ported a Windows Mobile application to an iPhone, because of the larger and growing market for the latter," Brust said.
Microsoft hopes to take a bite out of Apple's App Store dominance with Windows Marketplace For Mobile, but given that Windows Mobile 6.5 is a stopgap release along the road to Windows Mobile 7, it's unclear whether Microsoft will be able to generate a similar level of excitement. And if Microsoft's effort isn't up to snuff, that'll only serve to underline the vast head start that Apple has carved out in the mobile applications space.
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