Mobile Web

Let me first say that I haven’t done any mobile web stuff since the i-Mode. cHTML rocks! With the current developments I wonder if I need to keep my hand in because mobile is becoming the desktop.

The interesting thing is that you can also say that the desktop is becoming mobile. The ‘old’ desktop is just simply dying off. Whilst workstations become more and more rarified. On the whole desktops are no longer cutting edge. Innovations no longer come from desktop machines. Take a look at the iMac. It’s actually a laptop, all it’s inner workings are based on mobile computing hardware. Except for the graphics card. Practically the only thing that is making any headway in terms of speed and innovation are the GPU’s. At least when we look at it from a consumers point of view. That too may also change in coming years.

With laptops replacing the desktop it’s the smartphones and netbooks that are replacing the laptop in terms of usage. They’re now our secondary machine. Microchips are all about smaller and faster, it was only of mater of time before we would see something like the netbook emerge.
The mobile web however hasn’t really been innovated into being. Mobile web browsers are just, well, browsers. From the smart phone to the workstation browsers are technically built on the same foundations. It’s by and large it’s the interface that’s different. Opera maybe hoping to cash in on their Opera Mini browser but Apple is pushing innovation with Webkit at an alarming rate. It’s to be their interface layer for all their mobile efforts. If Apple ever makes their much rumoured tablet computer you can bet that it’ll be using webkit extensively.  Recently I witnessed their first major shift toward using webkit for their cross platform software with iTunes.

It remains to be seen if such web technology can become a fully fledged interface layer for both applications and the web. For now it looks like it can go all the way, but like the netbook it still has to prove itself. The web and mobile computing go hand in hand because   they’re both small, fast and agile. Javascript is getting a new lease of life with the current crop of engines like Nitro, V8 and TraceMonkey. It doesn’t end there however. 3D is getting in on the act as well. WebGL will push browsing to new heights and the iPhone into web gaming. It looks like the web is coming of age and anybody still stuck in desktop driven application development better wake up. Not only was the web never going to go away it’s going to take over. Even Microsoft is slowly boarding the HTML5 train. How about you?

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