We’ve been monitoring the mobile browser market pretty closely during the last couple of years, especially in regard to Mobile Ajax and how it could help to create new and powerful web applications for mobile phones.
Mobile Ajax is a lot of things and it always depends on the individual’s definition what is really meant, but one thing that is a pretty common aspect of Mobile Ajax is the ability that it might at some point be used as a gateway or API to connect the web browser on the phone with the device hardware, such as the GPS system thereby giving access to the device’s position within a mobile web application.
These things are in development at every mobile browser vendor today, that much is for sure, but what’s more interesting, because it’s hardly known, is that this functionality already exists on some BlackBerry Devices, namely those of the 8800 series! Now maybe we’ve been too busy developing our stuff lately to notice, maybe this time nobody really made a big buzz out of this, but personally I feel bad that I missed this until now, because I feel this might have a tremendous impact on mobile web application development:
Too bad BlackBerry devices are known for not having the world’s best web browser on them (to put it politely) - developer documentation seems not to be of much help either. But as results from our ever-running Frost library test show, there might be a BlackBerry device, the BlackBerry 8200 Cingular US (VendorID = 102), that already features support for Ajax. This could be a faked user agent string though, so if you have a 8820 and want to test it, just go to http://pwmwa.com/frost - or we can test it ourselves as soon as you send us over a BlackBerry 8200 ;) As we develop Groupile, we will make sure to include this as soon as possible too.
Please read all details and the code listing in TonyB’s article - thanks for blogging about this!