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PhoneGap is a mobile application development framework that allows developers to use familiar web technologies like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to create apps. The framework provides tools and APIs that enable seamless access to native device capabilities across various platforms without extensive platform-specific coding. Applications built with PhoneGap are hybrids, blending web elements with native app features, making them installable as regular native apps on multiple mobile operating systems.

Initially created by Nitobi and later acquired by Adobe Systems in 2011, PhoneGap was rebranded as Apache Cordova and became an open-source project managed by the Apache Software Foundation. This development aimed at streamlining mobile application creation by leveraging existing web skills in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript for cross-platform app development. It eliminates the need for separate codebases for different platforms by providing uniform tools and APIs across iOS, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry OS, Tizen, and Ubuntu Touch. This approach enables developers to compile one codebase into platform-specific binaries efficiently.

PhoneGap's hybrid app model combines the benefits of web applications with native device capabilities using standard web technologies. It simplifies rapid prototyping and deployment across multiple platforms while maintaining low development costs due to its single codebase strategy. Competitors such as React Native (JavaScript/React), Xamarin (C#), Flutter (Dart), and Ionic (web technologies) offer varied strengths like performance enhancements or more native-like experiences. However, PhoneGap stands out for its ease of use among web developers transitioning to mobile app development without learning new languages or frameworks while providing broad platform support through extensive plugins and APIs integrated within an open-source ecosystem fostered by Apache Cordova's community-driven growth.

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