Marmalade's Tony Waters on iPad mini, BlackBerry's bounce back, and the dev 'buzz' around Windows 8

Platform prowess

Marmalade's Tony Waters on iPad mini, BlackBerry's bounce back, and the dev 'buzz' around Windows 8

It's not hard to imagine taking charge of the Marmalade SDK must be a bit like spinning plates.

The cross-platform development tool really does live up to its name, spanning major mobile platforms that are themselves constantly updating and shifting their parameters.

The SDK's latest update – version 6.1.2 – is designed to tailor itself towards Apple's latest iPhone 5 and iOS 6, though Marmalade has recently announced support for Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 and is in partnership with RIM to support BlackBerry.

The perfect time, then, to tackle SDK head Tony Waters for his take on all the platforms, and the constant race to support all of them.

Pocket Gamer: Just how different is iOS 6 to its predecessors? Are developers facing significant hurdles targeting the updated OS? Tony Waters: From the perspective of a cross-platform SDK like Marmalade, the most significant change has been the switch to only support building ARMv7 binaries with the latest version of Xcode, which essentially removes compatibility with the iPhone 3G and the second generation iPod touch. What's your take on iPad mini? Does it risk fragmenting iOS?

Apple has made supporting the iPad mini very easy as it shares the same resolution as the iPad 2 and similar technology.

The 7-inch form factor has been very popular on Android, so it will be interesting to see how well the iPad mini performs.

Back in September, you added support for Windows 7 and OS X. What's your take on Windows 8, and do you have plans to extend support to the platform?

We announced this week that we do plan to add support for Windows Phone 8 before the end of 2012 with full desktop and tablet support in Q1 2013.

We have been working very closely with Microsoft over the last few months and we have been demonstrating a version of our support at the Microsoft Build conference in Seattle this week.

There is a lot of great buzz from the developer community around Windows 8 and a recent Vision Mobile report stated that 57 percent of developers are looking to target Windows Phone 8 within the next year.

We are very pleased to be able to support the platform and look forward to helping developers bring amazing apps to Windows Phone 8.

How is your partnership with RIM to bolster BlackBerry development through Marmalade going?

The program is going very well indeed - in fact demand has been far greater than we expected. There are already many new apps on BlackBerry App World as a result of the promotion and we expect many more to be submitted over the coming months.

Our current focus is to offer support to those developers already signed up to the programme in the form of webinars, video tutorials, dedicated forums and a new Marmalade QA offering for November only whereby developers can get their apps tested by our experts, for free.

With the addition of new platforms and the continued updating of existing ones, is offering up to date support for all of them difficult? Do you ever get to pause for breath?

It's a lot to keep up with, but that's what we're here for - and what our developers need.

We take the pain out of supporting and updating new platforms, which leaves Marmalade developers free to focus on what they do best - creating incredible apps and engaging experiences.

At Marmalade we believe that more platforms mean more possibilities for developers to build more sustainable IP and longer term ROI.

Thanks to Tony for his time.
Keith Andrew
Keith Andrew
With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font. He's also Pocket Gamer's resident football gaming expert and, thanks to his work on, monitors the market share of all mobile OSes on a daily basis.