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Adobe Is Distributing Cordova under the PhoneGap Brand

by Abel Avram on Mar 20, 2012 |

Adobe will continue offering PhoneGap as a Cordova distribution along with PhoneGap Build and Adobe Shadow.

Adobe acquired Nitobi Software and its PhoneGap product back in October 2011, announcing that the mobile development framework will be open sourced and handed over to Apache Incubator in order to become a fully accepted project governed by the ASF. We have wondered why would Adobe buy Nitobi and open source PhoneGap, and especially why PhoneGap keeps going on if another project was supposed to do its job?

Adobe has had a series of unfortunate communication problems lately, including handling the transitions going on with Flash, Flex, AIR and PhoneGap. After several months, Adobe finally made clear their plans for Flash and Flex, and now a post cleared up some of the mystery surrounding PhoneGap.

Brian LeRoux, PhoneGap project lead, said that the decision to open source PhoneGap was taken before Adobe purchased Nitobi, and they had to change its name due to the fact that Adobe now owns the PhoneGap trademark. The first name chosen, Callback, was uninspired, so the name was changed again, the product being now called Apache Cordova.

While many thought that the PhoneGap name will no longer be used now that the code is under a different name, the reality is that Adobe wants to continue offering a Cordova distribution under the PhoneGap brand. For the near future, Adobe will be packing together Cordova, PhoneGap Build –an online application build service-, and Adobe Shadow – an inspection and preview tool-, but it is quite likely they will add more mobile development tools to the PhoneGap package in the future.

It is not clear though if Adobe will strengthen the PhoneGap brand which is quite known among developers, or if the will transition to another name. Also, it is not known if they will build proprietary code on top of Cordova code, but LeRoux’s post suggests such a possibility: “Currently, the only difference [between PhoneGap and Apache Cordova] is in the name of the download package and will remain so for some time [emphasis added].”

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