The hope is that the change will encourage developers to use the OpenPlug platform and tools to create applications for smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices from a single code base.
For wireless operators, the advantage of Alcatel-Lucent’s Open API Platform is to leverage the network as the application platform, as well as become part of the app-driven revenue stream.
“Enabling applications to run on multiple providers’ networks makes operators with limited geographic scope more attractive as partners to developers,” said Tom Nolle, president of CIMI Corp. “While the Open API programs acts as an umbrella for providers and developers, the bad news is that developers haven’t rushed to this process.”
Nolle added that offering OpenPlug application development tools free of charge lowers the cost of entry to zero in terms of tools. Time will tell if free makes a difference.
For Rob Rusher, principal consultant for On3, a software consulting and training company that has created applications for a long list of large enterprises and startups, OpenPlug tools were already essential to him a year before Alcatel-Lucent acquired it in September 2010.
“Using Open Plug, I can write an application that runs on iPad, Symbian, Android and Windows Mobile with one set of code,” Rusher said. “It saves me resources, because typically a person who writes for one language doesn’t know the languages of another. So [using OpenPlug] the calendar time for development is the same, but the savings in resource time is four-fold.”
On3 is also the first certified North American OpenPlug solutions provider, and Rusher will spread the OpenPlug word at conferences and conduct training in the US.