Mobile Web Sites or Applications?

You may recall that when Apple first released the iPhone it did not run applications, rather application functionality was provided by web applications that you accessed using the Safari browser. Many users were not satisfied with the limited capabilities of these web sites and therefore jailbroke their iPhones so that they could install applications.

The ReadWriteWeb web site is reporting that a mobile search company called Taptu expects the browser-based mobile web market to grow much faster than the app market. A reason cited for the growth is increased support for HTML 5, which will allow browsers to render more robust, app-like web sites.

I know that in my own case, I use the browser much less on my Android phone because of the Facebook and Twitter applications that I use. My current mobile browser use is for searching for information, usually locations, or for catching up on my RSS feeds in Google Reader. Regardless of my own preference, I also understand the difficulty software developers have because they have to create different versions of their programs for iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Windows Mobile, and Symbian devices.

I believe that without a standard supported by all the mobile operating systems that enables developers to deploy their applications across all the device types, developers will have to make choices on what devices they will support and that in turn will create a limit on the number of mobile operating systems that will remain in the market.