IMAGE SOURCE: Wired.com: The Web Is Dead. Long Live the Internet
I have to disagree with Chris Anderson and Michael Wolff. While Apps are the popular thing right now, there is too much fragmentation between Operating Systems. iPhone/iPad support this 3D HTML5, Android supports Flash, Blackberry does this, Symbian does that… yada, yada, yada…
Then on top of OS fragmentations, you have fragmentations between different versions of the OS. For example, the iPhone 4 & iPhone 3GS is running the 4th version (iOS 4) of the iPhone OS and can do multi-tasking with apps, while the iPhone 3G can run the iPhone iOS 4, but it can’t do multi-tasking with apps. Then the iPads aren’t getting the iOS 4 until Q4 of this year, so whoever has an iPad you won’t be able to do multi-tasking until then. Yes, fragmentation will always exist because of better technology, but obviously less fragmentation is better than more fragmentation.
A solution to fragmentation is web apps! All browser support HTML. I’m still not touting HTML5 as the savior from fragmentation completely, but I am saying that is can help.
From a developer’s or product manager’s standpoint it would be easier and much more cost effective to develop multiple web views with HTML, than to have specialized teams developing an app for the iPhone, the iPad, the Desktops, Android, Blackberry, Symbian, etc… Right there you are up to 6 various apps platforms, 6 completely different operating systems (iOS, Windows, Mac OS X, Android OS, RIM & Symbian), and at least 2 different programming languages (Java & Objective-C). Developing apps is a hassle, time consuming and most developers only specialize in one or two languages.
I think apps are a great tool for the here and now, but in the coming years I’m betting mobile web will end up as the king.