Google: The Web, Not App Stores, is the Future Of Mobile Development

Speaking to attendees of the MobileBeat 2009 conference in San Francisco yesterday, Google Engineering vice president Vic Gundotra predicted that the Web would prevail as the dominant mobile application development platform despite the huge success of Apple's App Store (via Financial Times). According to Gundotra the harsh economics of maintaining multiple platform-specific copies of applications is pushing development to the Web.

"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 thats where Google is investing."

At least partially supporting Gundotra's viewpoint were fellow panelists from Palm and Nokia.

Readers will remember that Apple initially only officially allowed developers to create web-based applications for the iPhone and iPod touch, but extended access to native applications a year later with iPhone OS 2.0 and the launch of the App Store.

For technical support of his claims, Mr. Gundotra points to HTML5, which is allowing for CSS animations as well as the use of geolocation and accelerometers. Of course, such technologies currently do not address the needs of more complex games that require access to mobile-based 3D services such as OpenGL ES.

Interestingly, both Google (Chrome OS) and Palm (WebOS), and previously even Nokia, have taken advantage of Apple-backed WebKit as the basis of their latest Web-centric operating systems.

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