TweetDeck, the popular Twitter and Facebook client, will soon be available in a cross-platform mobile version. According to TweetDeck's founder and CEO Ian Dodsworth, the company's reason for putting resources behind a browser-based mobile version of the app is that HTML5 is "looming on the horizon, tempting us with all sorts of web-based goodness." Thanks to faster and cheaper mobile Internet access, as well as the arrival of standards compliant mobile browsers, developers can now build rich mobile apps in the browser, without having to develop multiple native applications for the increasingly diverse mobile ecosystem.
"Mobile web browsers are becoming more powerful and standards compliant. HTML5 is looming on the horizon, tempting us with all sorts of web-based goodness. Mobile internet access is getting better, faster, cheaper. But that's just the beginning. "
For a small company like TweetDeck, being able to focus on fewer products instead of having to develop and support multiple native apps makes a lot of sense. According to Dodsworth, "by focusing our efforts on a single web based product we can provide the attention and resources to really make the experience shine. Web-based development is efficient and lean so you can expect new functionality to come fast and furious. "
Dodsworth also cites accessibility and enhanced battery life as reasons for why a browser-based version of TweetDeck will be better.
Going to the Browser Brings some Disadvantages as Well
It's worth noting, though, that browser-based apps won't be able to interact with the host operating system in the same ways as native apps can. Running TweetDeck in the browser means that you don't use a lot of system resources, but you also can't push local notifications or interact with other programs on the device. BlackBerry users also won't be able to use keyboard shortcuts to operate TweetDeck in the browser.
For the time being, we expect that TweetDeck will continue to develop and support its native iPhone OS and upcoming Android apps. The browser-based versions will surely allow TweetDeck to reach a wider audience without having to develop and support even more native apps. It'll be interesting to see if Seesmic and other developers will follow TweetDeck's lead. Seesmic already offers a very good web client for its Twitter client, though it doesn't offer a mobile web client yet.
You can sign up here if you would like to be among the first to test TweetDeck's new mobile client.