While Apple's application store -- along with the iPhone -- may have helped kickstart the age of mobile devices, it may not lead the revolution for long.
That's the conclusion a mobile Internet firm is drawing from a poll of over 4,000 British and American consumers, as The Guardian reports:
The unique selling point of the iPhone - it's App Store - will dwindle in appeal within two years as HTML5 becomes the standard for browsers and mobile web applications become increasingly feature-rich, says the 2010 Mobile Web Usage Forecast by mobile internet firm Volantis.
That makes a lot of sense based on what's going on in the marketplace. Browsers are increasingly supporting features unique to mobile devices and there's a (relatively) fast convergence around HTML5, the latest version of the language that governs how online content is presented. Applications for the iPhone won't disappear, but it will be easier to make websites with much of the same functionality as those apps without being exclusive to Apple's devices.
HTML5 allows for, among other things, easier embedding of videos, offline access to Web applications such as e-mail, and the integrated sharing of location information with user consent. Even Apple CEO Steve Jobs threw his support behind HTML5 in an April letter explaining why Adobe's popular Flash format was not supported on the iOS, the operating system for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.
HTML5, the new web standard that has been adopted by Apple, Google and many others, lets web developers create advanced graphics, typography, animations and transitions without relying on third party browser plug-ins (like Flash). HTML5 is completely open and controlled by a standards committee, of which Apple is a member.
The latest versions of most major browsers have begun supporting HTML5, at least in part. And, though it's not strictly related to HTML5, both Google's Chrome browser and Firefox can now detect the orientation of a device, allowing, for example, a user to control a car in a racing game by turning their device like a steering wheel, something previously only possible within applications.