“Apps vs. Web” debate is not just a passing trend but a hard reality affecting everyone – not only you as a consumer, but you as a designer and engineer of new devices.
Java was supposed to unite everyone on the Internet – regardless which device you use to access to the Internet. Now, we are facing an age-old challenge all over again: The fragmentation of apps among different platforms. How should we deal with it?
Apple is certainly pushing their apps by having restrictions on the iPhone web browser. And websites are not crazy about the "m.whatever.com" approach because it has the effect of limiting their advertising. While latency is likely to improve with apps, it is likely to limit competition. I'm curious to see what happens in the next 6 months as we see Android and Apple slowly squashing everyone else...
Apps are crucial to the success of cloud based computing, which enables high mobility and performance computing.
Apps become a container of the web, limiting information to netizens. Today's apps from various newspapers and magazines are yesterday web browser. Do you like apps more or web browser more? What's the benefit of using the apps vs the browsers?
As people migrate to keyboardless touchscreen mobile devices as their main Internet portal, apps just become more convenient to use--just a single click takes to directly to the information you want. Today most apps are without commercial interruption too (no ads)--like the early days of MTV--but of course as their popularity increases, the ads will likely return--which is why Google, Apple and others are pursuing location-based services as a carrot to make them palatable.
I don't see this as "apps vs web," at least not always. Many apps are little more than bookmarks to web pages, even if those pages are formatted for tiny screens. Apps are necessary when keyboard entry becomes a cumbersome nuisance.
I think a more technically correct debate would be whether the web will be switching over to pages designed for tiny screens more than the regular size. I don't know for sure, but my gut tells me that this is another example of over-hyping a new trend.
Organizing the multitude of apps is just as much a problem (if not more) than managing bookmarks/favorites...what have you. There are two obvious models of apps organization; 1)Single App - single icon: which leads to icon proliferation on your phone-top / pad-top / desk-top area. This means pages and pages of icons to find "your stuff". 2)Multiple Apps - single icon: Most obvious example is Google App with the "Apps" navigation button which allows you to browse and select from many different Google apps.
Each of these destination organizational methods have advantages and detractions. Neither seem particularly friendly to the use mode of the platform they served from...mobile devices. How many will admit to paging and paging to find that favorite little app icon while driving the car? With all the apps out there, many of those icons are beginning to look the same.
Ahh, but there's probably an app for that...
"One drag on the runaway Apps Culture is that the four dominant app platforms—iPhone, Android, BlackBerry and Symbian"
Perhaps, some organization could develop and propose a standard interface method and protocol set that those four different platforms could adhere to. I certainly understand the desire for companies to take the "walled garden" approach. It gives each a much greater opportunity to differentiate their platform against the others.
For example, one of the platforms might migrate toward a specialty of graphic design applications. Then people who need that graphics capability the most would largely stick to that platform. Perhaps another platform might specialize in more wrote business applications. Business folks would then migrate to that platform. A third platform would specialize even further as a digital video platform and the fourth would get a little lost, focusing on home use and gaming, but never quite gaining enough following to be a long-term contender.
Eventually the Mac would dominate in the graphics space and the Windows platform in the business space. The Amiga would soldier on in niche applications for a while before disappearing and the Atari ST would soon become just another forgotten footnote in computer history.
After all of that mess, the web browser could come in and allow all remaining platforms to use the same code-base. App developers could host their platform independent applications in the cloud on remote servers, with the web browser simply rendering the UI and capturing user input.
Wait. Sorry. I accidentally jumped from my prediction of the future to a recollection of the past. That's the problem with being old: so much of what is "new" is just a re-run from a few years back.
It will be an illusion for any one to think of an order in this age. Our lives is simply a moving existence. It is Apps today, it will be something else. Internet is at ver 2, by version 10, no one will be writing of Apps or web, it will be something radical and different that you may not need Apps to show. Developers must build technologies that can adapt as evolution is happening faster.
Well written native apps have a far better user experience than any web apps whatever the platform (iOS, Android, etc.).
After using my native banking app on iOS, I don't want to go back to the web version. I experienced the same with the eBay orTwitter apps. It's not only a page size problem, it the general look and feel. Apps feel less "clunky" than their equivalent web sites.
For me, this debate is like DOS vs GUI 25 years ago.
At the rate the number of new apps released is growing, we will soon have more apps than traditional web pages! Selecting among the various, nearly single purpose, apps is difficult at best. At least the free apps can be tested and discarded if they don't meet your needs. The paid apps are a different problem altogether. Organizing all the apps will soon require an app itself.