Yesterday evening I attended my first Mobile Monday Miami meeting. It was a breath of fresh air to meet and connect with people that share the same interest as I do, and are enthusiastic about anything and everything mobile. The topic was "Will The Mobile Web Kill Off The App Store?" The overall conclusion was that whether you develop your app on the mobile browser or natively, it really depends on the uses case you have at hand. Let's look at some pros and cons of both approaches:
- Mobile Web
- PROS: One app for all platforms (almost). With the adoption of WebKit (iPhone, Android, WebOS, Nokia, and soon RIM) and HTML 5, this could become the cross-platform solution that everyone is searching for.
- CONS: Getting access to some low level functionality of the phone is very difficult. Could you query the phone's proximity sensor for example? Not really.
- PROS: Full access to the phone's APIs that provide you a way to query its hardware.
- CONS: Having to develop one app for each platform. There are cross-platform tools that try to mitigate this issue. I haven't used any of those tools, although I wrote about them, but the comment made by Steve Jobs that the platforms will support the lowest common denominator in terms of features. However, I imagine that you could tweak the tools to take advantage of the features provided by every platform that you target.
Another view of the topic discussed Monday was the benefit of having an App Store in terms of discoverability and distribution, a one stop place. This can never be achieved with a web version.
Overall, fantastic discussions, great turnout, I'll definitely become a regular.