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Standalone Mobile Application Clients

Standalone mobile applications are the ones that hold out the most promise as they are most suitable to implement complex banking transactions like trading in securities. They can be easily customized according to the user interface complexity supported by the mobile. In addition, mobile applications enable the implementation of a very secure and reliable channel of communication.

One requirement of mobile applications clients is that they require to be downloaded on the client device before they can be used, which further requires the mobile device to support one of the many development environments like J2ME or Qualcomm's BREW. J2ME is fast becoming an industry standard to deploy mobile applications and requires the mobile phone to support Java.

The major disadvantage of mobile application clients is that the applications needs to be customized to each mobile phone on which it might finally run. J2ME ties together the API for mobile phones which have the similar functionality in what it calls 'profiles'. However, the rapid proliferation of mobile phones which support different functionality has resulted in a huge number of profiles, which are further significantly driving up development costs. This scale of this problem can be gauged by the fact that companies implementing mobile application clients might need to spend as much as 50% of their development time and resources on just customizing their applications to meet the needs of different mobile profiles.

Out of J2ME and BREW, J2ME seems to have an edge right now as Nokia has made the development tools open to developers which has further fostered a huge online community focused in developing applications based onJ2ME. Nokia has gone an additional mile by providing an open online market place for developers where they can sell their applications to major cellular operators around the world. BREW on the other hand has seen limited popularity among the developer community, mostly because of the proprietary nature of its business and because of the steep prices it charges for its development tools.

Quite a few mobile software product companies have rolled out solutions, which enable J2ME mobile applications based banking. One such product is Wireless I-banco . The mobile user downloads and installs the wireless I-banco application on their J2ME pone. The J2ME client connects to the wireless I-banco server through the service providers GSM network to enable users to access information about their accounts and perform transactions. One of the other big advantages of using a mobile application client is that it can implement a very secure channel with end-to-end encryption.

However countries like India face a serious obstacle in the proliferation of such clients as few users have mobiles, which support J2ME or BREW. However, one of the biggest CDMA players in the Indian telecom industry, Reliance Infocomm has about 7.01 million users all of which have handsets, which support J2ME. Reliance has unveiled one of the most ambitious data services deployment program in the country. On the other hand a country like South Korea with its tech-savvy population has a widespread adoption of the higher-end mobiles, which support application development.

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