Thursday, August 19, 2010

Are browsers dying?

I don't think so, but we can see a landscape changing since the mobile market is growing so fast.
Already today users with smart mobile devices are spending 79 minutes in average online with their device (source admob). Internet usage overall (on PC) in the US is 13 hours a week (source cnet). Mobile usage is doubled in the last 12 months but internet usage went slightly down.
80% of mobile online usage is generated through applications and not internet browsers.
All this could indicate that in the near future most of the people will access the web through applications instead through websites.
But think it is just temporally. Mobile devices are new and all of them have different resolutions and functions. It is like when the internet started and it was hard to make nice websites for all computers because of different browsers, graphic cards and resolutions. But this changed pretty fast as the tools got better and we did rethink from print to new display method . I remember at the beginning of my career, nobody did want to build browser based applications for this and some other reasons. Today, almost every enterprise application is browser based.
But why are there over 300,000 mobile apps? And what is different to a Internet page?
The difference is not big actually, most of the apps are depending on Internet connection and are just websites optimized for the mobile device. All of these apps could be web pages and most will be in the future. I believe in 12-18 months we will see a trend of disappearing apps and moved the content back into browsers. Browser will have offline cache and the user won't need to have Internet access all the time.
Right now the app hype is high because it is easier to build custom optimized applications than trying to do it through browsers and the companies can charge a lot for apps (The first webpage I did build in 1994, I charged 10k, today I would not get more than $300 for the same simple page).
But to be realistic, most of the apps are nothing than short cuts for Internet pages which displays the content in a different way.
We can already put a short cut of a web page on the iPhone desktop and looks like an app. Click on the icon will open the website. It is just a matter of time till agencies will figure out to build cool "apps" within browser page.
And in a few years there will be no question anymore if user has Internet access or not. We are just connected, as we just make phone calls when we want.
Till then we will see a higher growth in mobile internet usage through applications and a decline of internet usage through browser and PC.

- Posted using My iPad

Location:W Laurel St,Tampa,United States

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