Mobile Phone Apps vs. The Internet: Which Will Be Bigger?

Posted on July 20, 2009

Wired reports that Google's Vic Gundotra believes the future of the mobile industry is web-based application not mobile apps like those in the iTunes stores.

Vic Gundotra, Google's engineering vice president and developer evangelist, said on Friday at the Mobilebeat conference in San Francisco that the future of the mobile industry lies in web-based applications, rather than native software coded to run on specific smartphone operating systems.

"Many, many applications can be delivered through the browser and what that does for our costs is stunning," Gundotra was quoted in a Financial Times report. "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."

However, BBC News quotes GetJar's Ilja Laurs who think mobile phone apps will be as big or bigger than the Internet.
"Apps will be as big if not bigger than the internet," according to Ilja Laurs, chief executive of GetJar, a leading independent application store.

"They will peak at around 100,000 by the end of the year. That will be a tipping point and after that there will be a gradual fall in the rate of development.

"The full blossom will come in ten years and mobile apps will become as popular as websites are today with consumers," Mr Laurs told BBC News.

So who is right? Apps will get bigger but it is hard to bet against the Internet here. There are probably new technologies coming that will make it much easier to extend the browser and web-based tools to mobile phones without as much need for apps. The Internet will probably reign supreme.

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