Mobile applications, RIP

Michael Mace has posted a thoughtful piece which seems to capture well the state of play with mobile application development. I think he’s right that there doesn’t seem to be much success to be had there as an ISV.

I thought it was interesting that he claims the forming web platform has beaten the native platform for mobiles (with graphs that suggest such a platform exists), while also claiming that there is no native platform. He’s right that there are, in practice, around twenty or so. His analysis seems to be that the OS vendors in the mobile space were wrong – no native platform is needed for mobiles, when the web will do. Surely he’s missing that the web for mobiles is a mobile specific platform. Even the latest browsers work best when your mobile web app is designed with a small screen and patchy coverage in mind. Take a look at the crop that target the iPhone. Most are very simple when viewed on a desktop, and many tout offline usage features.

So whilst I agree with his conclusion – native app development on mobile is a dead end right now – I disagree with the technical analysis (no platform was needed) behind it.