The traditional wisdom on the mobile world would tell you that “there should be a large number of mobile phones with eSWT capability on the market so that it is feasible for applications to target eSWT”. I do not agree with this, come to think of it, I never did. Nokia has at least 8 models on the market that carries eSWT. I do not have the numbers for all the models but the lately released touch enabled 5800 XpressMusic sold 1 millon in a very short time. In addition to Nokia there are other manufacturers that carry S60 phones. I am aware of at least three Samsung models that has eSWT. Also there is a big number of Windows mobile based phones that has the possibility to download and use eSWT. Overall the number of eSWT enabled phones are way over the number of iPhones and iPod touches today and the number is increasing rapidly.
So what is really the reason for growing number of iPhone applications? eSWT is a toolkit that works with an application environment, nowadays it is widely used either with eRCP or MIDP. None of these application environments provide a clear revenue path for application developers, while iPhone with its application store does. So it is mostly about the money.
However, I believe there is another Eclipse technology that is also suffering from the same problem. Eclipse RCP technology is not getting the wide adoption it deserves. I know that RCP is getting some attention on the enterprise market, however on the consumer applications it barely exists. Especially, RCP applications that target consumers could use a good distribution channel that accompanies a payment system for commercial products. Simply a bundle marketplace, similar to Apple’s application store that enables the discovery and distribution of the RCP applications and OSGi bundles. Such a platform would open the way for RCP/eRCP applications to a whole new market.