Hello apps. Goodbye web.
The wide adoption of smartphones and mobile devices across the globe has caused a fundamental shift in how companies should view their web and app strategies.
Mobile usage in the U.S. zoomed past web last year, totaling 60% of all usage. By themselves, apps accounted for 52% of all usage, according to an August 2014 report from comScore. Mobile usage now outpaces web in Asia, according to StatCounter. The same is true for most of Africa. Only one European country, Poland, has crossed from web to mobile so far, although recent trends suggest that more European countries will soon follow.
In just a few short years, Google’s Chrome browser has overtaken Internet Explorer and Firefox to dominate browsing regardless of source. Safari does dominate the tablet market because of the overwhelming popularity of the iPad, but Chrome comes out on to top without or without the inclusion of tablets. Among desktops, Chrome usage tops 50%, according to June stats.
The harbingers of doom for the web started gathering steam in the mainstream press when Forbes ran an article last year under the headline “Android and iOS are Killing the Web.” The Wall Street Journal followed a few months later with an article titled “The Web Is Dying; Apps Are Killing It.”
“The Web—that thin veneer of human-readable design on top of the machine babble that constitutes the Internet—is dying. And the way it’s dying has farther-reaching implications than almost anything else in technology today,” states the lead of the WSJ article.
“We’re in love with apps, and they’ve taken over,” the article continues later. “On phones, 86% of our time is spent in apps, and just 14% is spent on the Web, according to mobile-analytics company Flurry.”
Where ready access to information is concerned, until recently we were tethered to our desktop computers. Now we all have powerful computing devices in our hands, and we are discovering that apps help us get at the information we need to get our work (and our play) done more effectively.
Every self-respecting business, be it an ecommerce company or one that provides restaurant information, has a mobile app. It’s to the point where the web application is an afterthought to the mobile app.
Previously, technologists were constantly trying to extend the desktop out to the mobile, oftentimes trying to put a square peg into a round hold. Google believes this is a fundamental flaw in the thought process. Google is creating disruption in technology once more with ARC (App Run time for Chrome).
It begin initially with apps where people could develop apps for the Chrome browser. These apps can be run on the desktop using the Chrome browser as a platform. With the popularity of the Chrome browser, it becomes the perfect platform to target for any enterprise.
With ARC, you can take an Android native application, recompile it through ARC without having to change any code, and it can run on the Chrome browser like an app. This drastically changes the investment thought process for web and app development – especially at the enterprise level.
Taking ARC for a Test Drive
Although ARC is in beta testing, Pyramid Solutions decided to take it for a spin. To be brief, we thought it was brilliant. The recompiled app works like a charm on the browser. The only code change required was to lock the app into tablet landscape mode. The best part is that when you design and code, you do not have to be cautious of the PC – it’s seamless.
Of course, users will have the final say once ARC rolls out of beta whether ARC truly is an innovation. But we believe the ability to design an app that runs on the browser with all native features and functionalities, without effort, will help many companies break development bottlenecks and bring even more useful apps.