IT market is constantly getting more and more interesting. Mobile applications are getting more and more popular (and profitable), but it doesn’t help that every mobile platform has its own tech stack (and in most cases they differ a lot). Even if platform share some common foundation (like Java), it can also cause additional trouble (if you didn’t guess what I’m speaking about - check this link: http://www.scribd.com/doc/92724336/12-05-07-Oracle-Google-Partial-Jury-Verdict-on-Copyright).
Microsoft didn’t pay enough attention to what’s going on (again…) and now they’re struggling to get some market share (when biggest chunks of pie are pretty well distributed…). They’re doing quite poor with their Windows Phone 7/7.5 (that’s a shame as it’s really a great OS) and now they’re going to make a dreadful strike in tablet segment (Windows 8 + WinRT). Analysts believe that Microsoft may actually succeed (according to popular predictions Google and Microsoft will get a similar share in mass-market mobile devices and iOS will stay with significantly lower share, mostly in high-tech, expensive devices), but nothing is for sure - future will tell.
What does it mean for us (devs)? If we have 3 major players with 3 different platforms (Android, iOS, WinRT/.NET) that need to be covered, do we have to prepare 3 different applications for full market penetration? It’s troublesome as tech differences are quite significant and of course development cost is pretty much tripled. In theory, not much could be done about that, but if you dig deep enough, you can always find out something suitable :)
Few days ago Xamarin (yea, Mono dudes) announced (http://blog.xamarin.com/2012/05/01/android-in-c-sharp/) porting Mono to Android (http://xamarin.com/monoforandroid). If you sum it up with already present MonoTouch (that makes you able to run .NET code on iOS devices - http://xamarin.com/monotouch), you’ve got a common development platform for all three current-gen mobile platforms. Xamarin is very enthusiastic about their latest “child” and even if I don’t share their enthusiasm fully (due to my previous experience with Mono), their ideas are definitely something to watch carefully in future.