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Could Mobile Web Erase the Lines Between iOS and Android App Development?

According to a recent article from CNet, Dominique Hazaël-Massieux doesn’t want to hear about iOS app development or Android app development. What he really wants to hear about is developers who enjoy the benefits of a non-proprietary system: the Web.

What happened to the Web?

In a sentence: It fell behind.

1.2 billion smartphones shipped in 2014, CNet reported. That’s about four times the number of PCs. Of those shipments, the International Data Corporation recently announced, iOS and Android account for 96.3 percent. Android had 81.5 percent of the smartphone market share.

With the swelling popularity mobile devices and, primarily, of iOS and Android, Apple and Google seized the power in the mobile world and they’ve fought hard to keep it. Each new development, from apps and app stores to electronic payments, have come with one brand or the other. And part of keeping that control is attempting to ensure that the products they’re offering can only be found in one store and on one device.

The problem with iOS app development is…

As previously stated, Android holds a market share of 81.5 percent, with over a billion units sold in 2014. Coming in second place, iOS accounted for 14.8 percent of the market, with 192.7 million units sold. So the bottom line is that the vast majority of users have an Android phone in their hands.

Beyond that, Apple often finds itself fighting the same battle it did back in the Mac vs. PC wars of the 1990s. Whatever they do, Android — and Google — find a way to do it cheaper. Consider the recentarticle from Motley Fool, which stated that Google’s next biggest announcement may be that it is working on an Android Wear app for iOS, which will make Android Wear available to iOS users and put it in direct competition with the Apple Watch. Apple Watches have a starting price tag of $349, while Android Wear devices can be purchased for under $100, the article noted.

The problem is Android app development is…

According to an article from Business Insider, while iOS developers spend their time on code, Android developers find their time being used up by tasks such as debugging and testing. Why? Because Android is such a fragmented platform — there are over 1,600 devices in the Android SDK. That’s a lot of opportunity for issues.

Beyond that, the article noted, there’s a problem with how much money is in it for developers. For an Android developer, the median revenue per month per app is $101-200. The Apple Developer, however, sees a median revenue per month, per app of $500-$1,000.

The problem with native apps for one or the other is…

Universality, reported CNet. That marvelous quality that Facebook had when it first started. Back when it didn’t matter if the user was on a Mac or a PC, the page just loaded up. While there are always moves such as the Android Wear for iOS in the works, it’s still a matter of one tech giant seeking to put its own products in the hands of customers instead of its competitor’s products. With native apps, the playing field will always be at least a little bit unequal.

What is happening with the Web?

In October, 2014, W3C announced the proposed Application Foundations. The foundations will use the Open Web Platform, with a concentration on HTML5, and are aimed at lowering the cost of developing applications to reach the most people, regardless of device. The eight Application Foundations include security and privacy; usability and accessibility; performance and tuning; common services; application lifecycle; media and real-time communications; core web design and development; and device interaction.

According to the announcement, each foundation should evolve independently driven by experts on the subject. By using the framework of the foundations, it becomes easier to identify what is currently missing from the platform. All of these foundations, and the standards that W3C has been working on are aiming to improve the functionality of mobile web and erase the lines that have developers standing either on the side of Apple or the side of Google.

Note: If you’d like to participate in the W3C discussion about the Open Web Platform, you can do so here.

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