Short answer: mobile would be the holy grail.
Long answer: as you’ve pointed out, there are a few challenges for this. Aether is designed with a longer term view, so it actually is able to support mobile, eventually. Specifically, Aether is composed of three separate processes, backend, frontend and client. In a desktop app, these run in separate containers. Backend is the part that communicates with other nodes, frontend is the part that compiles the network into a human readable community, and client is the UI.
So, in a desktop app, all three of these work together. In a mobile app, you cannot have a backend - because it’s too expensive in terms of battery power required, CPU, or just plain old network communication needed. Also in most mobile platforms the apps can’t stay backgrounded for a long time.
The way Aether solves this problem is that Aether backends can do two nice things:
a) They are zero knowledge, which means the backend does not know the person sitting on the frontend/client. So you can have backends as public utilities, in your coffee shop, in a public park, and so on.
b) Multiple frontends can connect to one backend.
So what this means is, when you have a mobile app, that would just run the frontend, and it would actually just connect to a backend and get updates from it. This is nice, because the mobile app only needs to be concerned with connecting to the backend, and it does not need to stay online all the time — the backend will do the job of staying online and collecting the new information job, and whenever the frontend connects back, it will deliver the new updates to the frontend.
All this is already in place. I do not yet support ‘mounting’ a frontend onto an existing backend yet, but with some deliberation and cleanup work, that will be possible.
So this will also allow you to run your backend on a VPS in cloud, and make your desktop app only connect to your VPS to talk to the backend. Which makes you always online, always getting updates, 24/7, even when your computer is closed. Most people should not need this, because by default Aether can fairly quickly get updates from the network even when it was closed for a while. But in the case you want to treat it like email (you run your email server on a VPS and your mail client connects to it), you will be able to.