Recent reports have suggested that Google may be trying to port the Swift programming language to Android, which could have big implications for medical app development.

Swift is the programming language created by Apple for iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad. It is an incredibly easy programming language – much easier than iOS’ other option Objective-C or Android’s Java – and helped lower the barrier to programming on Apple’s flagship mobile devices. Someone with very little programming knowledge could now access mobile devices and write simple health apps.

And if Swift comes to Android too, that newbie programmer could write health apps for both types of devices that are now predominant in the marketplace. The learning curve becomes much less than it was a year or two ago – one simple language instead of two moderately complex languages. Surely, that would also unleash a wave of simple apps in both Apple’s App Store and the Google Play store. It’ll probably enrich Apple’s and Google’s coffers too.

As a programmer, it will be nice to have more options to develop on mobile apps. Java (native Android), Objective-C/Swift (native iOS), JavaScript (Appcelerator and Cordova/PhoneGap), and Python (Kivy) are languages that are already used there.

What still awaits, however, is work that will make the versions of Swift to be similar enough so that only one set of code need be written for iOS and Android health apps. Libraries are collections of functions that can be used by a programmer. No one yet knows how similar Android’s Swift libraries will be to Apple’s Swift libraries. I project that – at least initially – two code bases will need to be maintained. I hypothesize that Android’s Java libraries will transfer to Swift via some renaming convention. These are much different than Objective-C’s libraries on which Apple’s Swift is based.

It would be awesome, simply awesome, to somehow combine the conventions to allow for one unified programming platform from Google and Apple. The economic savings would be huge since one code base would only need to be maintained. This would, of course, undercut Adobe’s Cordova/PhoneGap and open-source’s Kivy efforts. Given the direct access to underlying Java/Objective-C, Swift may be more efficient (i.e., quicker computationally) than either. Unification of the Swift versions may become a new holy grail of mobile app programming.

Editor note: This article originally ran with the incorrect author listed. It has been updated and corrected.