Featured Development Resources

6 Cross Platform iOS And Android Solutions That You Can Use Right Now

Write once, run anywhere…

Arguably adherence to that philosophy has resulted in subpar applications, but the reality of things is that on the iOS platforms cross platform development is destined to grow with Apple’s new policy on third party development tools.  Android is also a growing force, and who doesn’t want extra money they don’t have to put in much time for? Some of these tools can even be used for iPhone development on windows.

I’ve put together this list of frameworks and tools that allow you to easily create applications that run on both iOS and Android platforms.   All of the frameworks listed here are already being used in apps within the app store, are well supported, and are available right now.

Native App Creators

Airplay SDK – This is a solution that has been used by many larger gaming companies that allows you to create cross platform applications.  Particularly useful to those developing 2D/3D games.  (Free for indies with company earnings < $100k)

Corona SDK – A solution allowing for the creation of apps using Lua.  Overall development is similar to scripting with Actionscript 2.0. Founded by former Adobe developers. ($99/yr)

Flash CS5 (Adobe Air For iOS)- Using the packager for iOS you can compile Flash CS5 apps even without touching a mac. (Approx $600, $200 if an upgrade).

Hybrid App Creators (HTML/Javascript and HTML/ruby based)

Appcelerator – This is a solution that allows you to develop native apps with HTML/Javascript (run through a UIWebView on iPhone) . (Free)

Phonegap – Similar to  Appcelerator, I mentioned these two as they seem to have the most vibrant communities, and most extensive support. (Free)

Rhomobile – This is a solution that uses Ruby, especially loved by Ruby on Rails developers. (Free only for noncommercial applications, prices vary)

There were many other HTML/Javascript solutions that could be listed here — they’re a dime a dozen — so I only listed Appcelerator/Phonegap as they seem to have the best support.


My guess is that if you wanted to use Flash, you’re already using it.  The Airplay SDK looks like an interesting solution if you’re starting out as there is no up front cost.  Corona is an inexpensive solution, and Lua is a great language to program with. The HTML/Javascript solutions are great if you are developing an app that does not require high  performance, especially if you’re a web developer.

If you believe there is another solution that should be added please mention it below, as stated at the beginning only solutions that real apps have been created with, that is already available to the public will be listed here.  You can check back in the future as more will be added.

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3 replies on “6 Cross Platform iOS And Android Solutions That You Can Use Right Now”

If you want to write apps in native code, MoSync could be alternative. MoSync can be used as a porting tool but is really an Eclipse based developer environment where you can develop C/C++ code in their environment and then have the system automatically generate device adapted native code for iOS, Android, Symbian, Windows Mobile, etc.

If you’ll forgive the plug there’s also my new book, HTML5 for iOS and Android, which enables you to take web apps created in HTML, JavaScript & CSS, and turn them into standalone apps that you can upload to the app stores (for free or to sell). See The wrappers to do this for the iOS and Android SDKs are freely available on the website, and you don’t need any knowledge of either programming language if you follow the instructions in the book.

BatteryTech SDK has been out for a while and has been a C++ cross platform solution, but more recently BatteryTech Engine is a high performance OpenGL ES 2.0 (shader-based) engine which uses the typical Lua language to deploy to Android, iOS and BlackBerry 10. So there’s number 7 or 8, depending on who’s counting…

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