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February 04, 2013

By 2016, More Than Half of Mobile Apps Will be Hybrid

As the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend continues to gain traction, organizations are increasingly in need of supporting multiple platforms. Given this environment, enterprises are pressed to develop and deploy mobile applications to accommodate mobile work styles while simultaneously increasing customer engagement.

In fact, more than 50 percent of mobile apps deployed by 2016 will be hybrid, according to the latest Gartner research. Mobility has had a major influence over IT in the past several years, but it’s quickly becoming a more vast area of technology, according to Ken Dulaney, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner.

“Mobility has always been a separate topic for IT professionals, but it is now influencing mainstream strategies and tactics in the wider areas of technology enablement and enterprise architectures,” Dulaney explained in a statement. “Increasingly, enterprises are finding that they need to support multiple platforms, especially as the [bring your own device] BYOD trend gains momentum.”

To address the need for mobile applications, enterprises are looking to leverage applications across multiple platforms. The advantages of the hybrid architecture, which combines the portability of HTML5 Web apps with a native container that facilitates access to native device features, will appeal to many enterprises.

Gartner advises that application development be consolidated through cross-platform frameworks, and that enterprises consider how applications can be improved to use the same code base.

“Our advice would be to assume the enterprise will have to manage a large and diverse set of mobile applications that will span all major architectures,” noted Van Baker, research vice president at Gartner. “Enterprises should consider how applications can be enriched or improved by the addition of native device capabilities and evaluate development frameworks that offer the ability to develop native, hybrid and Web applications using the same code base. Where possible, development activities should be consolidated via cross-platform frameworks.”

Gartner outlined two additional key predictions around mobility and the enterprise in its report, “Predicts 2013: Mobility Becomes a Broad-Based Ingredient for Change.”

By 2014, Apple will be as accepted by enterprise IT as Microsoft is today.

“Although Apple’s mobile iPhone and iPads are already as accepted by enterprise IT as is Microsoft, Apple's Mac systems for laptops/notebooks and desktops remain not commonly accepted by IT,” said David Mitchell Smith, vice president and Gartner Fellow. “Going forward, Apple will continue to benefit from consumerization and will continue to evolve Macs to take on more iOS characteristics, which will contribute to acceptance of Macs in the enterprise. As such, enterprise acceptance of Apple will continue to be driven by consumer demand.”

In addition, Gartner predicts that by 2013, the first 50 smartphones will appear in emerging countries.

Furthermore, new entrants in the smartphone market including Chinese brands and white-box handset makers have served to drive down the cost curve, according to Mark Hung, research director at Gartner. Differing use cases between consumers in the emerging market and those in developed countries have enabled the reduction or elimination of certain costly features, while advances in chipset integration have enabled semiconductor companies to address the growing low-cost of smartphones.

Edited by Allison Boccamazzo

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