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REALbasic for iPhone?

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Macworld 2008 Uncertainty over Apple's iPhone SDK is making a least one potential partner cautious about backing the phone, despite its popularity.

Geoff, the president and chief executive of REAL Software (the company that created REALbasic), has expressed interest in porting his company's cross-platform language to the iPhone as part of a potential mobile strategy.

He said support for the iPhone was a logical choice, but he also told The Register, that one reason for holding off is to see what Apple allows developers to actually do with the SDK.

"There are a lot of assumptions about what the SDK will let people do," Perlman said. "We have to wait and see what the SDK looks like."

For Perlman it's important that the SDK gives third parties access to the same APIs as Apple so applications run natively, as first-class citizens, on the iPhone rather than only running in the browser, where they will rely on network connectivity.

Complete access would be useful to makers of games and applications serving vertical sectors written to take advantage of iPhone's large, touch-screen interface. Features like the interface and soft keypad make the iPhone a "logical choice" for REAL Software to support, he said.

The iPhone is selling well among consumers and business users, a fact that’s got ISVs interested in supporting the device. According to Apple chief executive Steve Jobs, four million iPhones have shipped since last summer's launch.

So far the software companies that are backing the iPhone have only written to the browser. SAP, for example, was pulled up by Apple and forced to write to the browser having initially joined other ordinary users by hacking the device.

Perlman said some type of mobile support is in his company's futur, but he added that REAL Software is working through issues in its current products. That includes improved access to the company's REAL SQL Server for multiple applications written using REALbasic.

Such improvements are expected sometime after the next scheduled release of REALbasic. Today at Macworld in San Francisco, California, the company announced the latest version REALbasic 2008 R1 will be available next month.

One of the big advantages of bringing REALbasic to the mobile world is its cross-platform capabilities. REAL Software boasts its object-oriented language is relatively simple to build and deploy on Mac, Windows and Linux.

If REAL Software takes its language mobile, this will help developers by allowing them to re-use their existing skills on the desktop while enjoying application performance faster than Java, according to Perlman.®

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