By Matthew Dublin
Amazon Web Services has expanded support for the AWS software development kits for mobile device operating systems Android and Apple's iOS for the iPhone and iPad. Developers can now create applications that will enable users to access Amazon EC2, Amazon CloudWatch, Amazon Simple Email Service, Elastic Load Balancing, and Auto Scaling, all from their mobile devices.
AWS already supports mobile device software development for Amazon S3, Amazon SimpleDB, Amazon Simple Queue Service, and Amazon SNS.
Probably the most significant addition to the mobile development canon is AWS Compute, which allows cloud users to launch and manage Amazon EC2 instances, and Monitoring, which allows for monitoring of Amazon EC2 instances as well as EBS volumes, Elastic Load Balancers, and RDS database instances in real-time using Amazon's CloudWatch, a Web service that provides monitoring for AWS cloud resources.
Having access to these AWS services could prove to be quite useful for investigators on the go who want to check in and manage research projects running on the cloud.
There have already been lots of mobile app development for bioinformatics, going all the way back to 2002 when a group of researchers from the University of Turku in Finland released the bioWAP service, which provides mobile access to bioinformatics databases and software tools. But this area of bioinformatics development really took off with the advent of the iPad and iPhone. Some of the most recent bioinformatics apps for iPhone and iPad include the iProto Human and iProto Yeast, applications that let you search the whole human proteome and yeast proteome respectively, with your iPhone, and in your pocket for quick, easy and offline accessibility.
Another application called genomePad for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad, with the rapid development and release of powerful mobile computing devices, performing bioinformatics tasks on the go is becoming increasingly feasible and useful for busy scientists. GenomePad takes advantage of many features and qualities from both the iPhone and the genomic maps from the UCSC Genome Browser to make portable browsing of the UCSC possible on the iPhone and iPod Touch.
In 2009, researchers from Carnegie Mellon University led by Eugene Marinelli released Hyrdax, a cloud computing solution for mobile devices that uses MapReduce. If the idea with cloud computing is to have limitless computing and storage, and do away from hardware costs and management, then it only makes sense for this trend of mobile devices, which are not increasingly marketed as portable mini-personal computers, and cloud computing to become more and more integrated.
There is also talk, courtesy of Mac Rumors, that in an effort to make the iPhone and iPad even cheap and more lightweight, Apple will do away with most of the devices' internal memory in favor of using a cloud solution for media backup.