“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?
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.
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.
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 disagree with you on one point that apps are without commercial interruption.I have downloaded many android apps onto my smartphone most of which has tiny ads popping up. So the trend has already started.
Yes, even the iPad has a few ads already, for instance "Prudential" has a banner that displays during the startup of the MLB app. But these are just the tip of the iceburg. Apple's iAd and Google's mobile AdSense aim to put as many flashing "invitations to buy" in apps as there are on web pages. Lets just hope they don't spoil the burgeoning App Culture by being as intrusive as those auto-playing flash-videos are on the web.
I've found that Apps I've paid for tend not to have ads. I don't mind ads on my free apps, I realize the author should be able to earn an income from their work. It's a choice of marketing. Free but ad-paid vs. a paid download.
Ads only on free apps is a good policy--I just wish authors would stick to that model. Unfortunately, the more popular a paid app becomes, the more temptation there is to milk the cash cow with a few ads.
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.
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.
One can view an application like the bookmark of a browser. This means a universal 'easy button' would be 'what do you want to do' then bring up dynamically a small menu of choices with the default you choose being one or two clicks away. No download, no update, just cloud resident dynamic app. This is also analogous to mail search. I used to organize my email in folders. I no longer do it with the 'search-and-retrieve' flat folder with everything on the server side. Applications will be search-able by keywords. I only need 6 choices under 'what do you want to do?': View/Read, Write, Dial, Play, Transact, Upload. Auto power on, auto shut off. Is there an app for that? Sign me up.
I don’t think we have a war of “Apps vs. Web” as of yet. But if the trend continues, this topic will indeed be on the cover of Times Magazine. The graph shows some interesting numbers, but I think it is too early in the game.
Web Vs Apps ! What about eyeballs and clicks? All these smart phones and their apps are going to make the next generation permanently blessed with sore eyes by continuously watching those tiny screens, and deformed fingers by operating those minuscule QWERTYs. The popularity of an app will then be measured by no of sore fingers and red eyes! While in Television we are moving to bigger LCD and LED screen with less eye strain ,less radiation hazard and here with these mobile apps we are spoiling the young kids who keep twiddling their fingers to send some stupid SMSs !
@prabhakar Why blame the technology for that. Why do you forget the fact that the same mobile helps you to track your kid where is.
Sticking to the topic, I feel the fight will be between android and Apple. Symbian has lot of catching up to do. The projected numbers though looks big but they are easily achievable looking at the pace of growth.
"Apps move e-commerce off the Web and onto a more secure mobile Internet platform". This statement about the security of using apps for ecommerce could be misleading.
I suppose hackers should still be able to commandeer apps running on our mobile phones and steal user information.
Apps can be more secure than browsers, because well written ones will use proprietary security algorithms that can only be cracked by targeting them specifically--not by getting in through a web browser's security holes. Hackers seem to be attracted to challenges, however, which is why app developers need to take care with their implementations. For instance, Citibank recently confessed that it had to plug a security hole in one of its apps:
The bigger worry is from hackers writing their own apps with hidden Trojan horses inside that they then give away free!
I believe this may be what some call an "inflection point". Technology and human use of that technology is moving away from the current status quo.
For example, from what I have heard (and need to confirm), outside of the US most people access the web through some sort of mobile device. Imagine what that says about companies supporting that infrastructure--suddenly ARM and Linux, instead of MS and Intel are central.
Those apps are not just replicas of desktop applications, but whole new applications impossible or of little use on LAN based computers. Brand new world--suddenly its not compilers, spreadsheets, word processors or Windows anymore.
Yes, this trend has got to be scary for any company will all their eggs in the PC basket. Microsoft is responding with mobile OS offerings and Intel with mobile Atom processors, but it will be hard to put the genie back in the bottle.