Like PhoneGap In The Cloud: Icenium Debuts A New Cross-Platform Mobile App Development Platform (Invites)

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Icenium is a brand-new integrated cloud environment (get it? i-c-e not i-d-e = Icenium) for mobile application development. The service, which is a spin-off product division at Telerik, is just now entering its private beta stage and is in search of developers willing to kick the tires. Initially, Icenium will focus on the iOS and Android development platforms, and will later expand to other mobile platforms, and eventually, to server and desktop.

Doug Seven is leading the Icenium division at Waltham, Massachusetts-based Telerik, after previously serving as the Director of Product Management for Visual Studio and the .NET Framework at Microsoft. Telerik, for those unfamiliar, makes developer tools for .NET and other Microsoft technology platforms (e.g., WPF, Silverlight, Windows Phone, etc.) Seven says that he’s been so quiet about what he’s been working on over the past year since he left Microsoft that the running joke is that he’s “VP of Black Ops.”

But what he’s been working on sounds pretty cool. With Icenium, the company is introducing an “ICE” that will allow web developers to use technologies they already know like HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript to build applications that run natively on mobile devices and can be distributed through app stores. And because it’s in the cloud, you’ll be able to work from anywhere, without having to worry about the various native SDKs. Plus, you’ll also be able to see the app in action without having to deploy it to a mobile device, and see your changes to the app in real-time. The end result, of course, is the ability to iterate much faster.

Icenium is a lot like PhoneGap in that it’s leveraging web developers’ current skill set to help them create mobile applications, but unlike PhoneGap, which still requires an IDE of some kind (and, to reach multiple platforms, multiple IDEs), Icenium abstracts away the platform dependencies, explains Seven. It allows the developer to “focus on their ideas, not managing multiple development environments,” he says.

Icenium leverages Apache Cordova (PhoneGap) and all Icenium apps are, for now, Cordova apps, says Seven. However, “with Icenium we are eliminating the complexity that exists even when using Cordova,” he adds. “No downloading and installing xCode, or Eclipse, or the Android SDK. All the platform dependencies have been turned into cloud services that the clients, Icenium Graphite and Icenium Mist, can use. This enables cross-platform mobile development from any platform.”

TechCrunch readers (developers, that is) are being offered the very first chance to try out Icenium for free. Just sign up at icenium.com/techcrunch to get on the list.