Mobile application development is the process by which application software is developed for small low-power handheld devices such as personal digital assistants, enterprise digital assistants or mobile phones. These applications are either pre-installed on phones during manufacture, or downloaded by customers from various mobile software distribution platforms.

Android, iOS, BlackBerry, HP webOS, Symbian OS, and Windows Mobile support typical application binaries as found on personal computers with code which executes in the native machine format of the processor (the ARM architecture is a dominant design used on many current models). Windows Mobile can also be compiled to x86 executables for debugging on a PC without a processor emulator, and also supports the Portable Executable (PE) format associated with the .NET Framework. Windows Mobile, HP webOS and iOS offer free SDKs and integrated development environments to developers. Machine language executables offer considerable performance advantages over Java

Platform development environment

Each of the platforms for mobile applications also has an integrated development environment which provides tools to allow a developer to write, test and deploy applications into the target platform environment.