Tuesday, October 04, 2011

The Web is the New App Store

I attended the GigaOm Mobilize conference (where VMware was well represented by CTO Steve Herrod) and came away with a few observations that are relevant for our overall mobile strategy:
  1. The web is the new app store. I had dinner with the heads of mobile for two large retail chains. Although each of them have multiple App Store apps, the vast majority of their mobile business is coming through the safari browser and not the app store. Consumer behavior is to go to the web to buy things, even on mobile.
  2. There are only two mobile markets, native iPhone and mobile web.The shift to HTML5 (+Phone gap if necessary) is happening rapidly. Almost every speaker talked of the html5/jquery/phonegap stack with a few native iPhone holdouts (e.g., gaming, iPhone only apps like Hipmonk). Phone gap allows html5 apps to access native smartphone features and be packaged for native app stores, effectively erasing the lines between html5 and native. There was zero discussion of native development for Android or any other non-iPhone platform.
Here are some intriguing, but less well formed conference themes:
  • Notifications are the "home page" for mobile apps. Mobile apps force developers to rethink and simplify enterprise apps - making them more modular and "attention-driven"
  • iPad is rapidly changing expectations about how web apps work. SalesForce's Do.com is using the iPad as their primary web platform and porting from there to browsers and smartphones.


Anonymous said...

Do you think that writers of iPhone apps will eventually give up and deliver the functions via a web app?

There are so many specialized apps on iPhones but if PhoneGap gives you enough device control and access, I don't see why iPhone app authors go that way too.


Christopher Keene said...

I think some iPhone developers will go with HTML5 mobile web delivery, primarily for less UI-intensive business apps. UI intensive, consumer apps like Angry Birds are likely to go native for the forseeable future.