Thanks for a quick reply.
Uunfortunately - I feel like a slightly silly cow.
The application works exactly as expected, it was more of an error in logic from my part. I'll illustrate the problem with some code, and leave it up to future viewers of the thread to determine my silliness here. After a restful night, I was able to see the error of my ways immediately.
item = e.button;
cat_no = e.button.data(
var app = new kendo.mobile.Application() should of course be var app = window.kendoMobileApplication in this instance...
So, the code did what it should. The newly created Application without params of course has no layout attached to it... ;)
Replacing it with the proper variation makes it work as intended, so. My bad. :-)