Most of today’s applications need handsets with robust computing power, limiting their potential market. However, a new architecture based on software running in the cloud will drastically change the way mobile applications are developed, acquired, and used, according to a new study from ABI Research. This disruptive development could eclipse the current mobile application model by 2014, delivering revenue of nearly $20 billion annually by the end of that year, said the report.
 
"Mobile application developers today face the challenge of multiple mobile operating systems," said ABI senior analyst Mark Beccue, in a prepared statement. "Either they must write for just one OS, or create many versions of the same application. Using Web development, applications can run on servers instead of locally, so handset requirements can be greatly reduced and developers can create just one version of an application. This trend is in its infancy today, but ABI Research believes that eventually it will become the prevailing model for mobile applications."
 
Intermittent network availability is a challenge, though. A cloud-based application stops working if you lose your connection. However, new programming languages such as HTML 5 will enable data caching on the handset, allowing work to continue until cellular signal is restored. (For more on cloud computing, click here).

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