There’s a fierce battle for the hearts and minds of mobile application developers, since the cost of a tool can be as significant as the robustness of the applications it can build. Recognizing that reality, Motorola Solutions Inc. this week released an update to its RhoMobile Suite of mobile application development tools that includes a free edition alongside two other versions that are available as a subscription service.
After initially launching RhoMobile as the Rhodes Framework, Motorola has not been as focused on its mobile application development platform in recent years as it might, admits Mark Kirstein, senior director of enterprise software at Motorola Solutions. With the release of RhoMobile Suite 5.0, Motorola is out to change that with not only a new pricing structure, but also additional features to one of the more venerable application development frameworks in the industry.
New features being added to RhoMobile Suite include runtime and startup performance improvements, support for a new Motorola MC32N0 CE7.0 and Android KitKat consumer devices, and a new common API for Audio Capture.
Kirstein says that as far as mobile computing applications in the enterprise are concerned, most organizations are just getting started. Many customers may have mobile-enabled a few existing applications, but as of yet they have not created a systematic approach to developing what soon is likely to be hundreds of applications.
The free version of RhoMobile Suite is intended to give those organizations access to a rich set of mobile application development tools with no upfront investment required in the expectation that they will migrate to Silver and Gold versions of RhoMobile Suite, which are available for a fee. Those two paid subscriptions provide developers with access to RhoElements to access features such as bar-code reading and automatic data encryption, along with a Cloud Build toolset and a Visual Studio plug-in.
Given the fierce competition in the mobile application development space, it’s not clear to what degree a free version of RhoMobile Suite is going to make Motorola Solutions more competitive. But given the fact that a lot of mobile developers in the enterprise are underfunded, the odds are good that some portion of the enterprise development community will at least check out RhoMobile Suite.