July 23, 2009

Mobile Applications - "Long live the Apps"?

One conference. Two viewpoints. And the battle lines are drawn! Is this going to be the mother of all battles in the technology arena?

• Google says app stores are a dead end (Wired.com)
• Apps will be bigger than the Internet (BBC News)

The argument continues. In the recent MobileBeat conference in San Francisco, Ilja Laurs, chief executive of GetJar, a leading independent application store, threw his weight behind mobile applications. According to him, “Apps will be as big if not bigger than the Internet”.

But Google’s engineering vice president Vic Gundotra begged to differ. “We believe the Web has won and over the next several years, the browser, for economic reasons almost, will become the platform that matters,” he contended.

Right now, mobile apps have the numbers in their favor. For example, with 100,000 developers, over 65,000 applications, and more than 1.5 billion downloads, Apple’s iPhone App Store is a runaway success. On the other hand, currently Web apps for mobile devices are mostly being developed for basic services, rather than complex programs or games.

Michael Gartenberg, technology strategist of Interpret, tried to offer a more balanced view. “It’s not about Web applications or desktop applications but integrating the Internet in the cloud into these applications that are on both my phone and the PC,” he believes. “Ultimately, it’s about offering the best of both worlds to create the best experience for consumers — not forcing them to choose one or the other.”

After all is said and done, it’s clear that even the ones at the leading edge of technological development are not in agreement about what the future of mobile holds. None of the combatants are showing any signs of backing down. So for now, both native apps and Web applications will co-exist… though not always peacefully.

At Web Spiders, our experts have unanimously voted for the middle path. We believe both systems have their own unique advantages; and at the end of the day, the consumers will decide what suits them the best. What is your view about the future of mobile? Let us know in the comments below.

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