Universal app platform in the works
Apps for mobile devices are transforming the way we use the Internet, but some people will tell you that one big obstacle is still keeping them from reaching their full potential – the fact that specific apps can only be used on specific devices. Imagine how limiting it would be if only certain computers could use Google or eBay, and you begin to see their point. Not only does this situation limit the app selection available to consumers, but it also lessens the incentive for developers to create new apps. Webinos, however, is looking to change that. The European research consortium includes over 20 member organizations from the mobile web, consumer electronics, and automotive industries, all committed to developing an open source platform that will allow the creation of applications that can be used on multiple devices.
“The vision of the project is to create ‘a universal application platform,'” said Dr. Stephan Steglich, of consortium lead group Fraunhofer Institute FOKUS. “That means, we aim to enable the use of web applications consistently and securely across all Internet-enabled screens – including mobile, PC, TV and in-car entertainment units.”
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Webinos includes high-profile members such as Deutsche Telekom, Telcom Italia, BMW Research and Technology, Sony Ericsson and Samsung Electronics. Another member is W3C, the international Internet standards group. Other interested groups are welcome to join.
Development protocol will be industry-based, instead of being biased towards any one company or type of device. It is hoped that this will encourage collaboration between app developers, device manufacturers, and users.
The three-year project starts this month, and is co-funded by the European Union, which provided a €10 million (US$13,066,256) grant.