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Web Is Out, Apps Are In

Detailing the drawbacks of HTML5, it also quoted Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, saying, “The biggest mistake we did as a company was bet too much on HTML5.” The article went on to conclude that though HTML5 may catch up to mobile apps, it’s not happening anytime soon.

Soon my mail sparked off replies, one of which was from a colleague. He agreed that HTML5 might not be able to meet the requirements, and it was wiser for the development community to pick a technology that is time tested and proven, especially when clients are looking forward to bringing out app-based products to woo customers who are relying more and more on smart mobile devices.

He also mentioned a phrase in his email that aptly describes the scenario today, and led me to write this article: “Web is out, apps are in.”  Why apps? Consider a simple case where you want to send an email to your colleague. With your desktop, you lose time with the booting process, opening a browser, typing the URL and waiting. With web apps, you still need to manually open your browser, type in the address and wait for the site to open.

Mobile apps do away with these multiple, time consuming steps.  Unlock, tap on a notification and get the information or service you need in a fraction of the time it takes to use a browser. In fact, iPhone’s Siri and Android’s voice recognition software have made voice commands so common that even the physical tap is becoming redundant.

Desktop/LaptopMobile WebMobile App
Switch on the power supply for main, UPS, CPU and monitor.Unlock the phoneUnlock the phone
Boot the PC and waitOpen the browser and waituntil it loadsTap on the notification
Log into the PC and wait until the desktop is readyEnter the URL and wait until the site opens
Open the browser and wait until it loadsLog in using user name and password
Enter the URL and wait until the site opens
Log in using user name and password

Sometimes it may feel unreasonable, on how we are constantly pushing ourselves and the technology to the limits. But we only have to consider the stages of improvement in communication over time. From pigeon post in the days of our distant forefathers to the telegram to telephones and the Internet, technology gets faster, more reliable, and easier.  Looking at this trend, I’m sure that in the future, the way we interact will be much quicker, highly efficient and more sophisticated than we can imagine at present. If this sounds like too much of a task, just take a look at recent innovations such as Google glasses, Kinect gesture recognition, BCI devices and eyeball tracking. These concepts may have been viable only in sci-fi movies a decade ago, but today, these are real.

Further reinforcing that the web is out and apps are in, Adobe has ceased development of their Flash player for mobile web browsers, and opted to shift the focus on mobile apps to Adobe AIR. From a business point of view, it’s even more interesting to note that several of our clients want to go ahead with mobile apps instead of web apps, especially using Adobe AIR, because of its cross-platform support. Mobile apps have gained their foothold in the market, and they definitely seem to be a step in the right direction.