People in the industry have made sweeping generalizations like “The Web is dead.” Yes, apps are important, but they will never replace browsers. Internet surfing has gone has through three stages:
the first was browser-centered (Netscape)
the second was client app-centered (Apple).
With Web surfing on cellphones, particularly in emerging countries, the third stage is back to being browser-centered.
SECURITY – This is a serious issue on cellphones. Installing an app means opening up a myriad of ports, which is like punching holes in a wall. Cellphones are closely connected to a user’s identity and financial information, which attracts thieves. The browser has been created with a high level of security; the browser sandboxes the Web apps running on it, hence providing an extra level of security over apps.
SERVICE – What users really want is the functionality that an app provides, not the app itself. With the Internet browser becoming more capable, Flash-based games can run on a browser, as can videos. For a long time, people used dedicated video software, but with YouTube, people have become accustomed to watching videos on a browser — and may not need a video player at all. The apps are still there, of course, but they’re morphing into Web apps.
STANDARDIZATION – Today we need to develop for different platforms like Android, iOS and Symbian. This takes a tremendous amount of resources from developers, and users are reluctant and annoyed with having to update their apps all the time. But for a Web app, it’s “develop once, run on multiple platforms.”