An interesting perspective by Michael Mace on Mobile applications, RIP, and Mike Rowehl’s response/follow-up to it. Also see David Beers’ response; welcome back David! I would love to see the actual (empirical) data that feeds the two graphs “attractiveness of the platforms to developers” in the blog, if such data exist.
If mobile applications are RIP per Michael’s blog post, someone better tell Apple and Google, and Sun, and Nokia, and Microsoft, and others, who are spending tons of money on their platforms and applications.
This is how things work… Unless you are attacking a specific mobile niche, you must consider your application as follows: texting, which has the biggest user reach; this approach obviously is very limited in functionality. Expect MMS to grow in the U.S. Mobile web is a great, “guaranteed” to work way to deliver content, and it satisfies most of the mobile applications out there, which tend to be minimalistic and simplistic. But for the richest kind of applications and experience use local; of course (as I’ve written many times before) the problem with local is the distribution model, the application discovery and download model is a barrier to mass distribution. And don’t forget of voice-enabled applications.
I recently wrote a piece titled Is Local faster, fresher, better? Many say Yes. My whole point there is that companies such as Google and Yahoo! and Apple and Nokia, are all investing on platforms for running native or local applications, and for a good reason. Customers *are* asking for local applications. And consumers/end-users (who know how to navigate) do download (useful) applications.
In theory, as devices become faster and more functional, and networks become faster, you could argue that the distinction between mobile web and local applications will tend to disappear, and it will, especially when the future browser-runtime gets to provide access to local functionality. But the truth of the matter is that today this is not the case, and that we are years away from that to happen.
The Palm OS is not a good example of why and how things have evolved or will evolve. Palm OS is not Android or iPhone, Palm OS had its time, and screwed it up all by themselves.
I have the feeling that something big is going to happen with Android and the iPhone; I can’t wait to see the impact the iPhone might have on the way local applications are discovered and distributed, and on the perception of native vs. mobile web in general — let the numbers, the market, the blogs, the reports do the speaking.
…text, mobile web, local/native, voice; there is money to be made in mobile.
Related to this see:
- Paul Golding’s Wireless innovation – local versus browser etc..