Gartner’s Magic Quadrant is exploring new territory: First e-Discovery, now mobile Mobile Consumer Application Platforms. In its recent report, Gartner added an analysis of vendors that provide cross-platform tools. The addition comes as the result of increased interest in cross-platform approaches (such as cross-compilers and client-side runtime containers for applications), as well as in the impact and future direction of HTML 5.

Mobile's Magic Quadrant

Much of mobile consumer application platform (MCAP) functionality is being added by vendors specializing in mobile enterprise application platform (MEAP). And while MEAP functionality is not yet an evaluation criteria in the Magic Quadrant, it does reflect how web programming and the consumerization of mobile application development are converging.

That being said, the Magic Quadrant for Mobile Consumer Application Platforms added seven vendors (Andanza, Antenna Software, Appcelerator, Kony Solutions, Nitobi Software, Sencha, Service2Media) and dropped three (InfoGin, Qualcomm and Volantis) from a base of 16 vendors.

MCAPs, Mobile Web, Messaging

Right now, the MCAP market offers tools and services that deliver consumer-facing mobile applications. For the report, the MCAPs covered provide at least one of the three key delivery methods, as well as substantial tools and services to enterprises -- namely, Mobile Messaging, the Mobile Web, Native Applications, and Cross-Platform Tools.

This Magic Quadrant also addressed the needs of clients that pose inquiries like:

  • Which vendors can help us create native and Web-based experiences on smartphones and tablets?
  • Can you help us understand the platforms available for staging mobile Web-browser-based applications to consumers?
  • How can we expand beyond SMS or short-code marketing campaigns to richer mobile applications?
  • Are there tools that will enable us to convert between mobile Web and native applications?
  • Can MCAP vendors also support enterprise requirements (and vice versa)?

Leaders

Leaders demonstrate clear superiority in providing convenient or compelling mobile consumer user experiences on a broad scale — at least nationally and, preferably, worldwide. According to Gartner, leaders are expected to support multiple smartphone, tablet, browser and application runtime containers.

According to Gartner

..there are no Leaders in this Magic Quadrant, because the large ecosystem players, such as Google, Apple, Research In Motion (RIM), Nokia and Microsoft, are not positioning their AD and support platforms to support other OSs.

Challengers

Challengers provide mobile capability to consumers on a global scale, with strong operations capabilities that include solid analytics and billing, yet are limited in their influence on the overall market or with enterprise IT organizations.

  • Apple
  • Google

Visionaries

Visionaries have unique ways of approaching mobile platform diversity -- they provide outstanding consumer experiences or they have broad platforms. The only thing holding them back is that they have not proved that their products and services can scale to provide a dominant platform regionally or worldwide.

Niche Players

Niche Players show promise, but exhibit significant gaps or weaknesses in one or more of these criteria: Company or business unit size or resources, geography, product or platform breadth or originality, completeness of offering, focus or size of customer base/reach to consumers.

Honorable Mentions

For those vendors that didn’t meet all the necessary criteria, the following were recognized as honorable mentions for their potential to evolve into MCAPs during the next three to five years.

Other Excluded Vendor Types included wireless carriers, SMS Gateways/Aggregators, including BulkSMS, CellTrust, Cylnk, Echovox, Open Market, Singlepoint; SMSCarrier, SMS2Email, SMSRelay and UPOC Networks and other mobile/platform specialists and offerings, including Blackboard, CiUI, Clairmail, Comverse, Crisp Wireless, Digby, Diverse Net, Leap Mobile, Mobile Distillery, MobileAware, Mobui, modomodo, Motherapp, Nellymoser, Openwave, Red Foundry, SurfKitchen, Third Screen Media, UI Evolution and Webapp.net Vibes.