Tag Archives: mobile

Web Apps

Meanwhile, more and more native apps are actually using web views, either for parts of their UI (like a timeline in a social network), or for all of their UI. If people aren’t told, they don’t notice it. If people do know, their opinions mostly seem to come down to confirmation bias. Today, we’re at a point where web apps, if done right, are virtually indistinguishable from native apps. Chris Tan points out:

Take a look at the this blog post attempting to expose the advantages of Hybrid vs Native which not only uses Instagram as an example of a Native app but it is specifically used as a example of a GREAT native app and why you might want the performance and smoothness of Native. This is somewhat hilarious, because it is in fact a hybrid application that uses a web view to render all of its content.

A great write up on the native mobile vs. web app debate.

Rusty Rants

If you are looking for a well-written blog that focuses on mobile and isn’t simply singing the praises of Apple or Google, I highly recommend this one. Having a healthy dose of curmudgeon doesn’t hurt, either.

About the decline of the mobile web

I linked to an article discussing the decline of the mobile web yesterday, and for the most part, I agree with it. Mobile is overtaking the web.

John Gruber doesn’t agree:

I think Dixon has it all wrong. We shouldn’t think of the “web” as only what renders inside a web browser. The web is HTTP, and the open Internet. What exactly are people doing with these mobile apps? Largely, using the same services, which, on the desktop, they use in a web browser. Plus, on mobile, the difference between “apps” and “the web” is easily conflated.

In essence, he claims that Internet-connected native apps and websites alike are all part of the web.

I don’t know if I agree. Being able to navigate from document to document is what made the World Wide Web popular; hyperlinks are such fundamental part of the web that for me, they are what define it. You can’t link to elements of a mobile app. You can’t link from one app to another. Well, you can in some cases, but it isn’t something that is there by design. So no, apps and websites aren’t both part of the web. Apps are connected, but there is a distinction to be made here.

We should celebrate, not bemoan, that the web has diversified beyond the confines of browser tabs and the limits of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Let websites, rendered in browsers, be good at what they’re good at. (And websites are perfect for so many things.) But let native apps be good at what they’re good at, too. Like water flowing downhill, users gravitate to the best experiences. Saying that we’re worse off for the popularity of native mobile apps is like saying water should run uphill.

No argument here—native apps offer mobile users a better experience. But instead of taking this as something set in stone is idiocy. Why not concentrate on making the performance of browsers better? Instead of thinking “nothing is faster than a native app”, why don’t we think outside of the box? What if websites were served as native, compiled software that runs locally? What if JavaScript wasn’t the only client-side language? What if HTML, CSS and JavaScript were treated as first-class citizens at the hardware level? These may be crazy ideas, but breakthroughs often originate from crazy ideas.

The decline of the mobile web

This is a worrisome trend for the web. Mobile is the future. What wins mobile, wins the Internet. Right now, apps are winning and the web is losing.

I wouldn’t say it’s all doom and gloom, but this article does bring up some good points.

Plants vs Zombies drops in-app fee

The company behind the popular Plants vs Zombies mobile game has said that the introduction of a charge for a previously free item was just a “test”.

PvZ isn’t what interests me about this article. It’s the concept of in-app purchases in general.

Mobile analyst at IHS Insight Jack Kent said that users can be reluctant to pay upfront for a game if they don’t know what they are paying for so in-app charges become more important.

“For smartphone and tablet developers in-app purchases are the dominant business model, 80% of revenue is made this way,” he said.

There are several ways of offering in-app purchases without pissing people off. The fact that people can be reluctant to pay upfront for a game can be remedied by offering a trial for free and an in-app purchase that unlocks the full game. It’s a single transaction, but it seems to work quite well on Xbox Live Arcade. In essence, offer people a demo if up-front charges are intimidating. Just don’t milk them for all they are worth.