There is a big debate raging right now over the future of native apps. In a recent interview with Wired, investor and web pioneer Marc Andreessen said, “Mobile apps on platforms like iOS and Android are a temporary step along the way toward the full mobile web.” Essentially, he’s calling native mobile apps temporary. I was intrigued by this and decided to ask a few experts for their opinions on the matter.
“I agree with this comment, and predict that it will take 4-5 years until the mobile web will be bigger than the app economy,” said Cyriac Roeding, CEO and Co-Founder of shopkick. Only one other person I asked actually agreed with Andreessen and that person was the VP for Marketing and Product Management for popular travel companion TripIt. Their statement is below.
One person I asked was so adamant that Marc was wrong that he gave us an entire post’s worth of refutation which you can find here: Why Marc Andreessen is Wrong About Mobile Apps Being a Fad. He says, “Regardless of the merits of remote apps as an idea, it’s just not realistic for mobile devices.”
Marc certainly has some clout when it comes to technology. For the uninitiated, he brought us Mosaic, the world’s first widely-used web browser and co-founded Netscape and Ning. He now sits on the boards of Facebook, eBay and HP (among others). So, when he says something, you’ve definitely got to give it some serious consideration.
So, readers, what do you think? This is a big issue that will effect nearly everyone in the developed world (from developers to end users). Are mobile apps a temporary fad? Chime in with a comment to let us know what you think.
What Andreessen Forgot: The Internet Isn’t Ubiquitous
Contributed by: Matt Gallagher, Mac/iOS application developer and author of CocoaWithLove.com
Marc Andreessen is choosing to forget: many people use their mobile devices when they can’t access the internet, many people don’t want to use their expensive data quota and many device features simply can’t be accessed from inside a web client–within these domains, native applications cannot be replaced. For applications that must use network data and don’t need to use any special device features, making a native app should already be a decision that is reached after a cost-benefit analysis. Of course, future performance increases will alter that cost-benefit analysis but ...