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Applications over cellular networks now range from operator-consumer applications (e.g., mobile television, voice-over-ip, video conferencing), peer-to-peer applications (e.g., instant messaging), machine-to-machine applications (e.g., data telemetry and automotive applications), mobile web services (e.g., music and video streaming), and social networking applications. The current approach for developing mobile applications appears to focus on utilizing template-based application-development kits provided by platform developers (e.g., Google's Android, Apple's iOS, or Nokia's Symbian) to capture application designs and install them on the runtime platforms through use of code generators tied to particular versions of the platform. It is still unclear as to how an application developer (or network operator) conceptualizes the features of a mobile application in a platform-independent way, identifies its utility and explores its impact on the user, or further refines the choice of technology, platform, and mobility/interactivity requirements. This paper attempts to offer some guidelines, based on recent research in the industry and academia in these areas, toward the design and development of successful mobile applications that can utilize the capabilities of the next generation of cellular networks. We provide an overview of the growing trends of the rich multimedia and real-time mobile applications, including the diversity of application types, their impact on the enterprise and consumer, their traffic volumes, and their load and communication patterns. In addition to the overall trend analysis, we also study the design choices that are to be made, and how they are realized, and also describe how the platforms (client and server) may be implemented. Additionally, we focus on mobile video applications according to their communication characteristics and their distinct demands on the cellular network. We also present an analysis of device and network application p- ogramming interfaces (API) that form the basic building blocks for efficient and secure mobile application development of the future.
Date of Publication: April 2012