May 19, 2010 | by Andrew Kameka
Mobile devices just got a little more enterprise-friendly thanks to GWT 2.1 Widget libraries. With the new development tool from Google, apps can be created once for the desktop and then easily tweaked to be made available for mobile devices like phones and iPad’s.
In a demo of Expense Reports, the web app was shown to quickly enter in the cost of Dinner, add time and date, categorize, and then update the company’s database. An employee submitted his expense on a Nexus One, and a manager checked denied the expense from his iPad because it was too costly. Within moments, even on a dreadfully slow Wi-Fi connection, the web app quickly updated both devices to reflect the change.
Expect to see more web apps with similar technology. Google promised flexibility through web apps because of web standards and cloud-based services that will enable faster deployment across devices. This is an interesting move given that so many people prefer native apps on their phone. However, the simplicity of standards across the web, advancement in HTML5, and Google Apps Engine potentially attractive developers who tire of device-based development, this could be a viable route for enterprise apps.
Google also announced App Engine for Business that will be “simple” and more affordable. The cost will be $8 per user until a company reaches the cost ceiling of $1,000 per month. More web apps could also be a way to fight fragmentation, which is what happens when one device runs a software version different from another; i.e. the Sony Ericsson runs Android 1.6 while the Milestone runs Android 2.1 and the iPad runs iPhone OS. This will limit the amount of time developers need to create new apps, so it could lead to more choices and services soon.
Google says we can expect more information to come this year. At the moment, today’s announcement was a developer preview of what will be a big push into enterprise.