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The Mobile Browser Is Dead

Apr 2 2014, 6:36am CDT | by , in News | Mobile Phones

The Mobile Browser Is Dead, Long Live The App
 
 

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The Mobile Browser Is Dead

Analytics firm Flurry has published data on mobile usage by US consumers during Q1 2014. While users are spending more time on their devices (an average of 2 hours and 42 minutes per day, up four minutes on the same period last year), how they use that time has changed as well. Only 22 minutes per day are spent in the browser, with the balance of time focused on applications.

Looking at breakdown of that time, users are living in their smartphone’s applications. That gaming requires apps is a given, but almost every other area provides the user with a choice – go for an app to access the data or go to the web.

Users are turning away from the browser and relying on applications. Anyone who relies on reaching out to users should be paying attention to these numbers, and have a strategy to deal with the app issue.

It’s also an area that the disruptors in the mobile market should be paying attention to. New platforms that are putting an emphasis on the web and web based services will find themselves at a disadvantage both in presentation to users and in development by web services. if the focus is on building apps rather than mobile friendly HTML5 sites and services, then the advantages of choosing iOS and Android over another mobile platform are clear.

One of the goals of Firefox OS is to give developers a simple and cost-effective tool set that is readily available, without the need for app store support or complicated SDK’s. HTML5 is their chosen route. While the vision of being able to search online, run apps directly from the cloud, and essentially have ‘web pages as apps’ does lower the cost of entry for all, it is not as flexible as a pure app play, and as people move towards apps the environment on an Firefox OS powered device will become less attractive.

Jolla, with their Sailfish OS, is also looking at the web as a driver of apps and information on their platform. Speaking previously to co-founder Marc Dillon he explained Jolla’s view on apps vs the web to me:

Dillon believes in ‘the internet’ and a web-based approach, “but I understand the utility of having applications. But they contribute to a tunnel vision of what a smartphone can do. They provide a good user experience, but poor integration. A smartphone is smart if it helps users day to day.

Which is all very admirable, but the almost overwhelming viewpoint today is that information comes to a mobile user through applications. As Flurry’s details show, use of the mobile web is dropping. The methodology of Android and iOS is the dominant viewpoint.

Where a mobile web promotes access for everyone to everyone, the app model hands the gatekeepers the power of access and discovery, leaving the service providers beholden to their policies, their platform tools, and their rules, which can change with little notice.

If you follow the principle that you need to be where users are, then you need to be building and distributing apps, which leaves you no choice but to accept that Google and Apple will always be the third party in any relationship with your customers.

5 Dating Apps To Help You Find Love

Source: Forbes

 

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/31" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

 

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