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BizReport : Mobile Marketing : November 01, 2010

App-pocalypse for the mobile app?

Could mobile apps be ousted by mobile browsing? Many industry commentators believe that the app's survival, following the introduction of a more sophisticated mobile browser fueled by HTML5, is touch and go.

by Helen Leggatt

The limitations of smartphones, in terms of processing power and network bandwidth, have contributed significantly to the rise in popularity of mobile apps. Currently, more than a half a million apps are downloaded every hour, and the average smartphone user has 22.

However, that may all be about to change as smartphones get faster, 4G networks improve and HTML5 greatly enhances the mobile web browsing experience. DotMobi recently released figures showing 2000% growth in the number of mobile-ready websites.

According to the CEO of Impact Mobile, Gary Schwartz, the mobile browser is the ultimate app. "It happened on the desktop from widgets to browser. Now we are seeing this in an accelerated fashion with mobile thanks to HTML5," he said.

Picking up on the over-zealous control problems encountered by brands advertising with iAds, Mr Schwartz added, "And because the browser is not within Apple's iAd white picket fence, it has more advertising revenue options. Contest over."

Another "problem" with apps is their longevity. Mobile users may cram their devices full of apps but, over time, only 1 or 2 will continue to be used.

So, what's the future of apps? Many believe a balance will be achieved. Apps will continue to thrive based on their ability to take advantage of mobile phone features such as the camera and accelerometer.

Meanwhile, a good mobile site that allows for anyone with a mobile browser to visit and have a good experience will become just as, if not more, important.

Tags: mobile apps, mobile browser, mobile web

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