Xamarin RoboVM: A path to mobile for 13 million C# & Java developers

Xamarin has announced that it has acquired RoboVM.

For those that need a reminder, Xamarin an enterprise mobility solution and the only mobile application development platform that enables native iOS and Android development in C#.

RoboVM enables native iOS and Android development in Java.

The acquisition brings together the top two languages in enterprise development and a path to mobile for nearly every enterprise developer.

Identical, in approach

The two companies have taken nearly identical approaches to enabling enterprise mobility — Xamarin and RoboVM apps are fully native iOS and Android apps—native UI, native performance, and complete access all of APIs for each device platform—built from a shared code base across device platforms.

Xamarin is the only company with this approach for C# developers, and RoboVM is the only company with this approach for Java developers. The acquisition means that Xamarin now controls the cross-platform mobile development market for the most widely adopted languages capable of native, client-to-server, cloud-to-mobile development.

 “If Xamarin were to build a Java solution from scratch, it would look like RoboVM because they took the same native-first approach in their design,” says Nat Friedman, CEO and Xamarin cofounder. “If you love Java, you are going to love RoboVM for iOS and Android development.”

NOTE: IDC estimates that between five and seven million developers work in Java, making it one of the largest developer ecosystems in the industry (source).

The language for enterprise applications and data center operations, as well as for Android app development, Java is used in a broad array of devices beyond smartphones and tablets, including: wearables, cars, drones, TVs, refrigerators, and many other IoT devices.

While enterprises have largely skilled internal development teams, they struggle to fully staff the capabilities needed for iOS and Android development; Forrester reports that 50% of organizations have fewer than five developers in-house, barely enough to field a single mobile team, especially if app is built for both iOS and Android.

RoboVM allows enterprises to achieve broach reach and easily extend native, Java-based Android apps to iOS – or to develop iOS apps from scratch – all while leveraging their Java skills, resources, and code.

“Our mission is to enable Java developers to create beautiful native mobile apps quickly,” says Henric Müller, CEO at RoboVM. “Xamarin’s market-leading position in enterprise mobility means that we will be able to scale our reach and enable mobile success for millions of developers.”

Xamarin hyper-growth model 

Key to Xamarin’s success is the large, global C# developer community that has transitioned to mobile development via the Xamarin Platform. Unique developer downloads have more than doubled in the last year, now at over 1.2 million, and sales have grown at an even faster rate.

According to Al Hilwa, program director for IDC’s Application Development Software research, “Using a cross-platform application development approach has emerged as one of the most popular approaches for building enterprise mobile apps, especially when coupled with generation of native platform code. Xamarin is able to address the two largest ecosystems for native mobile application development today with its support for C# and Java.”

 Xamarin and RoboVM will operate independently to ensure each team stays focused on their C# and Java user bases respectively. RoboVM will leverage Xamarin’s growth models in developer marketing, sales, and customer success to scale their business; and RoboVM customers will benefit from Xamarin’s enterprise-grade mobile expertise and full mobile lifecycle offerings.


About Adrian Bridgwater

Adrian Bridgwater is a freelance journalist specialising in cross platform software application development and data analytics as well as all related aspects of software engineering and project management.   Adrian is a regular writer and blogger with Computer Weekly, Forbes, The Register and others. His journalistic creed is to bring forward-thinking, impartial, technology editorial to a professional (and hobbyist) technology audience around the world. His mission is to objectively inform, educate and challenge.
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