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Which do you believe will dominate mobile development?

  • Native applications

    Votes: 349 72.6%
  • Web applications

    Votes: 89 18.5%
  • Not sure

    Votes: 42 8.7%

  • Total voters
  • Poll closed .


macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

Speaking to attendees of the MobileBeat 2009 conference in San Francisco yesterday, Google Engineering vice president Vic Gundotra predicted that the Web would prevail as the dominant mobile application development platform despite the huge success of Apple's App Store (via Financial Times). According to Gundotra the harsh economics of maintaining multiple platform-specific copies of applications is pushing development to the Web.

"We believe the web has won and over the next several years, the browser, for economic reasons almost, will become the platform that matters and certainly that’s where Google is investing."

At least partially supporting Gundotra's viewpoint were fellow panelists from Palm and Nokia.

Readers will remember that Apple initially only officially allowed developers to create web-based applications for the iPhone and iPod touch, but extended access to native applications a year later with iPhone OS 2.0 and the launch of the App Store.

For technical support of his claims, Mr. Gundotra points to HTML5, which is allowing for CSS animations as well as the use of geolocation and accelerometers. Of course, such technologies currently do not address the needs of more complex games that require access to mobile-based 3D services such as OpenGL ES.

Interestingly, both Google (Chrome OS) and Palm (WebOS), and previously even Nokia, have taken advantage of Apple-backed WebKit as the basis of their latest Web-centric operating systems.

Article Link: Google: The Web, Not App Stores, is the Future Of Mobile Development


macrumors regular
Aug 25, 2007
I dont believe that one bit LOL. How is he going to know whats going to work out best. No one thought accept Apple desktop graphics would catch on, no one thought accept Apple that the iPod would catch on, the Apple-App store is really popular, how can someone say web based apps will do a better job LOL. I use to like Google, but I think they are becoming too greedy and invading unnecessary markets, Stick to being a search engine.

I'll make my own prediction 20 years from now Google will be making toasters and sofas LOL.

Everything critics have said about Apple they have become the most successful in LOL


macrumors 601
Oct 24, 2007
It may be the future, but its going to be a while. With Apple and Google trying to pimp javascript, Adobe With Flash and its open screen project, Microsoft with Silverlight.

Everything just cannot sit on a cloud. Our infrastructure is too fragile for something like this at the present time. Tell ATT and other carriers to actually give us unlimited Data instead of five gigs and maybe a real pipe (HDSPA) and development will follow. Not before.


macrumors 65816
Feb 9, 2007
Because those iPhone web apps really took off...

No offense to the guy, but I don't know how someone in such a high position can make such claims basing his position on HTML5. Seems like an unintelligent statement merely said to favor his own agenda. Google is great, but does the whole company really stand behind this position? I'm no programmer and I acknowledge that HTML has come a long way, but from personal experience, I don't think web apps compare to apps written with a true SDK.


macrumors 6502a
Mar 28, 2007
New York, NY
Well, Google HOPES so, at least.

This is just Google's optimism that a more competitive, equal mobile device landscape will emerge. For that to come about, Apple will have to lose its gigantic marketshare in mobile computing. The "harsh economics of maintaining multiple platform-specific copies of applications" only applies if a majority of developers want to bother with the other platforms!

At this point in time, the disadvantage of the web's instability outweighs the advantage of its platform-independence.


macrumors regular
Sep 8, 2007
if u can

use them from cache and not need the web then it could be cool, but always having internet connect is an issue.


macrumors 68030
Jan 26, 2003
This may be true, but it's the distant future. Applications, I think, are a little like music in this regard. People generally want to buy/download and keep, not rent or subscribe.


macrumors newbie
Apr 2, 2009
This would mean for everyone to have super fast internet connections wherever they are, can't see that happening to be honest.


macrumors 6502
Nov 26, 2002
Self supporting

He is saying this because Google doesn't make their own phones and therefore can't control the hardware Android runs on.


macrumors 68040
Jun 20, 2007
Native apps will always run better than web apps. I DO NOT want Apple going in that direction (not that they are), not to mention there are plenty of areas where 3g/EDGE access is either poor or not around at all.

Web apps have their uses, like MobileMe and (which will hopefully expand like Office 2010 is), but Native apps are here to stay.


macrumors regular
Jul 12, 2003
Los Angeles
Not to mention how in the world would you properly sandbox your OS? Everybody saw how well ActiveX did in IE, and how much of a headache that was to properly contain.


macrumors 6502
May 24, 2007
There is no way JavaScript can compare to compiled Objective-C. JavaScript is terrible as a "real" language. Sure, you can do cool things with it, but ultimately it's a giant hack. Objective-C on the other hand is a thing of beauty, as far as languages go.

Further, big companies and even small developers will want to protect their intellectual property rather than release it as pure JavaScript source for the world to inspect and copy.

10 years Java, 8 years JavaScript, 2 years Objective-C.


macrumors G3
Jan 11, 2002
Los Angeles
This is just Google's optimism that a more competitive, equal mobile device landscape will emerge. For that to come about, Apple will have to lose its gigantic marketshare in mobile computing. The "harsh economics of maintaining multiple platform-specific copies of applications" only applies if a majority of developers want to bother with the other platforms!
The iPhone does not have a lion's share of the smartphone market and the smartphone market, at least in the US, is just a drop in the bucket compared to the overall cell phone market. There is still a big, wide world out there for mobile devices to grow into.



macrumors member
Oct 20, 2007
Wow, concept fail by Google there.

It's not web vs app store, it's the ability to purchase appropriate tools and services no matter what the medium. Whether you access them as web apps, or whether they are downloadable, is just detail.

And so the model, not the implementation, of Apple's store is where it's at. "The web has won"? Geez Google, think bigger.


macrumors 68000
Sep 6, 2003
It's definitely going to be a mix of stronger, web based technologies and still native applications. Apple though the web-apps would catch on with the iPhone, but they were of course too limited.

The alternative then was to write a whole API environment for native software. Imagine if those APIs could be invoked off the web? Like the camera and location services off mobile facebook? It's the two bridged.

I'll always want something I can use without the internet, because it will never be 100% pervasive, and sometimes it's nice to not be connected to everything everywhere and just play a game, or work on a photo album. I don't want connectivity forced on me, I just want it as a great option.
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