Mobile Platform Trends

With the proliferation of devices and operating systems in the market today, possible combinations for mobile systems seem limitless. Today, mobile computing technologies are evolving at an incredibly fast pace. From handheld devices like Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) and intelligent mobile phones to solutions involving laptop computers and high-speed, wireless Internet connections–how do you begin to choose the solution that best fits your needs?

Research into current industry offerings reveals three major platforms competing for dominance in the mobile device market–Pocket PC, Palm, and Symbian. Each platform, in turn, uses its own operating system–Windows Mobile OS, Palm OS, and Symbian OS, respectively. Each has its own unique development and runtime environment. Because none of these players has achieved industry dominance and standards in this area are lacking, your choice among these three options is not clear-cut. And if you want a single application to run on all three devices/operating systems, you need third-party middleware to accomplish the interoperability.

But the basic question is, can a device running a non-COBOL front-end application communicate with your back-end COBOL program? The fact is, with a carefully designed system architecture for your information system, any one of these platforms/operating systems can be a viable front end to your legacy COBOL application. If you already have a particular preference for mobile device and operating system, the choice is easier. Odds are that it can connect to and run your COBOL application.