Is Streaming the Future of Mobile Apps?

Mobile devices may soon be connected to wireless networks, giving them the ability to run large applications without storing them locally.

Citrix Systems, Nortel Networks, and AppStream are amongst a handful of companies who hope to have mobile streaming technology up within a year. Using a technique known as application streaming, these firms aim to bring new functionality to handhelds and cell phones.

Following in the footsteps of Japan’s Java-centred Mobile market, AppStream has honed in on Java as the language du jour of Wireless. It envisions Java-enabled cell phones featuring a menu of all the different apps available through service packages. These phones will store frequently used features locally whilst accessing others from network servers.

In addition to running Japanese favourites such as Java-based chat, email and video-games over its envisioned wireless network servers, AppStream technology should provide mobile users with richer interactive interfaces and continuous networked services. The company is currently pursuing several licensing agreements and envisions having its app streaming network up and running within a year.

Convinced that Microsoft’s .NET is the future, Nortel Networks Application Management Solutions is focusing on releasing products for the Windows CE operating system for wireless devices. According to Vice President of Marketing Jon Friedman, Nortel aims to break apps into small chunks, giving networks the ability to “see what a running mobile application asks for and provide it on demand.”

Instead of breaking apps into their component parts and sending users various parts as and when they need them, Citrix Systems is busy devising technology that will handle all of the computational work necessitated by various applications.

The Citrix solution will require mobile users to load a program handhelds capable of channelling a compressed screen image onto their from a network.

This method would entail a continuous shuttling to-and-fro between the network and mobile devices of clicks, keystrokes and screen images and will undoubtedly require quite a powerful server bank. Unperturbed by the heady requirements, Motorolla has already signed a deal that sees them incorporating Citrix’s technology.

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