This week, Amazon Web Services (AWS) made it possible for developers to build AWS applications on mobile devices, including the Apple iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch as well as on phones running Google's Android mobile operating system.
With the launch of two new SDKs (software development kits), code running on a mobile device can now make direct calls to Amazon's host of "cloud" services.
Previously, developers wanting to integrate mobile applications with Amazon's web services had to write their own libraries to handle the HTTP connection and error handling, said Amazon. Now, thanks to the new AWS SDKs, the AWS SDK for Android and the AWS SDK for iOS, the process is much easier.
With either of these, developers can access storage from Amazon's S3 service, databases on Amazon's SimpleDB and messaging facilities on Amazon SQS and Amazon SNS. The included libraries take care of "a number of low-level concerns," says Amazon, like authentication, retrying of requests and error handling.
The SDKs contain both libraries and sample code. The libraries are also hosted on GitHub (iOS and Android) where Amazon says it's "more than happy" to accept external contributions from outside developers.
Also important to mobile developers is Amazon's new guide which details several ways of storing and protecting the AWS credentials needed to make calls. The Credential Management in Mobile Applications document can now be found in Amazon's Developer Center.
Get Started with the SDKs
If you're a developer looking to get started with the new SDKs, Amazon has posted two easy-to-follow "Getting Started" Guides to reference:
These guides walk you through the steps for setting up the SDK and running one of the samples. Before beginning, developers need to have an AWS account, of course. A list of all AWS products is available here: ?http://aws.amazon.com/products.
With the new SDKs, developers can build apps that allow for uploading photos video or other media via S3, sharing game moves and high scores via SimpleDB or transmitting messages between smartphones without additional infrastructure, Amazon said.
Cloud Computing: The Future of Mobile
Over a year ago, we noted that cloud computing would be the future of mobile, referencing an ABI Research report on the topic. At the time of writing, the majority of mobile applications did much of the data storage and processing on the mobile devices themselves, not in the cloud. Amazon's newly launched SDKs could change that.
With these cloud-ready mobile toolkits, we're moving a lot closer to the future the analyst firm envisioned - one where the cloud powers mobile apps - and on a much faster timeframe than earlier predicted too. Instead of a "few years," as ABI claimed, it has only been a year plus four months since the report was first released. In mobile, everything is moving faster than planned it seems.
However, new SDKs aren't the only factor that will help fully transition mobile to the cloud. Also needed are API and Web standards like HTML5 to come into play and more and better access to high-speed 3G/4G networks. HTML5 has been a big mover in mobile this year, but connection speeds and dependability of our cellular networks are still a pain point in many places, both here in the U.S. and in other markets around the world.