More Mobile Web App Clues, Amazon Next?

If you read here, you’ll know I love smartphone apps for small units of work.

Aside from targeted use cases, what makes native apps really shine is their ability to address the device’s hardware, e.g. accelerometer, GPS, gyroscope, camera, microphone, etc.

So, as a user, I’m into apps.

As a developer, I hate apps with a passion.

Why? Because I’m forced to choose a platform and ignore addressable customers or spread my bandwidth across multiple platforms. Not to mention the perils of getting App Store approval and ever-changing guidelines from both Apple and Google.

As an aside, apps aren’t a gold mine for all but a small percentage of developers, so even if I’m only on a single platform, my effort investment is likely to outweigh any revenue.

Update: Some may not know there are real costs involved with popular platforms.

  • The iOS SDK runs only on OS X and carries a $99 annual fee
  • Android runs on OS X, Linux and Windows, but has a painfully slow emulator and carries a one-time $25 fee.

People like to dump on mobile web apps as inferior to native apps, which is frequently correct.

Even so, the rise of HTML 5, CSS 3 and JavaScript is bringing modern, native-app-like capability to mobile web apps.

For an example, check out jQuery Mobile, which is perhaps the best alpha software build I’ve ever seen.

The naysayers continue to point out that emerging specs are great, but that no one is using them.

That’s changing.

This post predicts Amazon’s move in that direction.

@chuckdude » Why Amazon Isn’t Worried About Apple’s In-App Purchasing Rules

The speculation is that in order to circumvent Apple’s new in-app purchase rules, Amazon would pull its Kindle app from the App Store entirely and rely on its Kindle for Web app instead for iOS.

Makes a lot of sense.

So, add Amazon to Facebook, which is rumored to be encouraging developers to build with HTML5 over native platforms, as well as internally moving toward mobile away from native development.

Adoption and execution by big players like Amazon and Facebook is exactly what is needed to popularize mobile web as a valid alternative for mobile development.



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