March 4th, 2008 | Published in Google Gears
Today is an exciting day for mobile application development, as it marks the first release of Google Gears on mobile devices. Gears is initially available for Internet Explorer on Windows Mobile 5 and 6.
Consider the sad state of mobile app development today: you often need to write native code, and build against four different SDKs, using five different compilers. It's a daunting task, which explains why so few people write mobile applications.
Web apps are an obvious way to deliver functionality across mobile devices. You can write your application just once. So why hasn't this approach been more widely adopted? Mobile browsers simply cannot do much of what you want applications to do.
Enter Google Gears. The mission of Gears is to extend the capabilities of web browsers. It is clear to us that mobile browsers can benefit just as much as desktop ones. By adding features to mobile browsers, it becomes possible to deploy an increasing number of mobile applications as web apps.
Furthermore, we plan to keep the Gears API consistent across all platforms. So as long as you account for browser differences (such as different screen sizes and DOM quirks), the rest of your application will "just work" across users' systems. You don't need to worry whether you are running on a mobile device or a desktop machine.
We are very excited by the potential here. We expect mobile apps built using Google Gears to usher in a new trend in mobile application development.
For more information, check out the interview Dion Almaer conducted with some of the engineering masterminds behind mobile Gears:
Andrei Popescu and Dave Burke describe what it was liking bringing Gears to Windows Mobile, and the motivations for the project.