Within the next year or so, a flood of HTML5-based Web apps will be coming to mobile devices. It will likely start with games and dedicated applications like e-readers and move to more general use apps like news sites. Companies like Facebook and Amazon will be at the tip of the spear. The next wave will be sophisticated developers that see the power of HTML5 as an alternative to the native application model.
It is not a foregone conclusion, but the rise of Web app stores is a likely future. Facebook's so-called "Project Spartan" may be driving the shift but other outlets such as news companies may be looking for a way to skirt the strict rules of the Apple App Store or the chaos of the Android Market and create their own centralized hubs for magazine-like Web apps as digital newsstands. Looking ahead, will Web app stores become the dominant model? That is the question for this week's ReadWriteMobile poll.
As we noted earlier this week, game developers are starting to work on HTML5 Web app games, ostensibly because of Project Spartan. Amazon released its Kindle Cloud Reader a couple weeks ago and Firefox has been working to create a better mobile browser for Android that will allow developers to use data for applications offline.
The real key to Web app stores will be the evolution of the mobile browser. The consensus is that webOS has very good browser capability while iOS Safari has the best overall browser. Mobile Internet Explorer for Windows Phone is probably next followed by Firefox for Android and then the Android browser itself (feel free to disagree with those rankings in the comments).
There are many sides to look at the topic from. One of the developer side where HTML5 may be preferable from a creation and monetization standpoint. Another are the cellular carriers which might prefer to funnel their own content through native application stores specific to their brands and devices. Will Apple, Google and Microsoft ever let the native app ecosystem out of their clutches? The primary drivers are consumers, as always. The mass of consumers are still just getting used to the idea of a native application store. Would they actually see a Web-based app store any differently? How hard it is to change their habits?
What other sides to the conversation are there? Polls are a simple way to start a conversation, but the real conversation should be had with the community of developers and consumers that frequent ReadWriteMobile. Please share your thoughts in the comments.