Back to the Future: iPhone Web Apps Get a Second Wind?

I was pretty amused while reading this item in Technology Review…

Gmail Sidesteps the App Store
The technology behind the new Gmail could challenge Apple’s control over third-party applications

Its basic premise is that Google recent Gmail web service update for the iPhone and Android based smartphones might usurp Apple’s App Store app market control. But, wait, didn’t we already try web apps prior to July 2008? The iTunes App Store launched only last summer with the introduction of the iPhone 3G and iPhone OS 2. You can still find Apple’s webapps directory by pointing your desktop or iPhone browser to…

http://www.apple.com/webapps/

There was a reason that people flocked to native apps after playing with but not getting excited over web apps: Web apps are slow and do not provide a good disconnected experience. And, yes, I include Google Gear as something that delivers a poor disconnected experience. Google Mail’s current web app for the iPhone (I haven’t tried it on the G1) still seems a bit sluggish and has a few odd display quirks. Mobile web apps have quite a way to go before they will be able to displace client-side apps. And, 3G connectivity will have to be a bit more ubiquitous and reliable too.