Bloomberg Launches Windows Mobile App

Customers of Bloomberg LP's real-time market data who have long been receiving feeds on their BlackBerrys can now receive them on their Windows Mobile-based devices, thanks to a recently completed development effort.

Bloomberg, whose customers tend to be institutional investment firms, announced the development of the Window Mobile effort at last week's Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) conference in New York, where the company is based.

The Bloomberg app was developed with Microsoft's .NET Compact Framework using Visual Studio, according to John Waanders, a Bloomberg product manager who oversaw the development of the mobile app.

"While it's developed with the .NET Compact Framework, it uses the same programming model approach you would use to build an application running on the .NET Framework for a desktop. It just happens to be best-tuned to the form factor and the needs for a mobile device," said Stevan Vidich, an industry architect in Microsoft's financial services group.

According to Waanders, the development effort took about six months. The most challenging part was transforming the navigation model of the desktop to the various mobile devices on which Windows Mobile is offered. For example, some devices are touch screen-based, while others rely on keyboards or other forms of navigation.

There was also the issue of the actual footprint. Bloomberg's desktop users typically have four monitors showing different applications.

"We were much more constrained in terms of the UI," Waanders said. "We had to really focus very heavily on getting only the most important data onto the screen at one time."

Still, the Windows Mobile deployment is in the early stages. Waanders said about 250 people are using the Bloomberg app on Windows Mobile devices, compared to some 40,000 using it on the BlackBerry. The latter was developed in Java before the BlackBerry platform supplier, Research In Motion, developed its .NET toolkit. Consequently, that development work did not carry over to the Windows Mobile project, according to Waanders.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.