Over the course of the last several years, Apps for iOS, Android, Blackberry and even Symbian paved the way for the strong value proposition of the optimized mobile experience for brands, publishers, developers and content creators. The closed App Store ecosystem created a business model for these App owners to make money in a way never before possible within the “Walled-Garden” environment of the Mobile Operators. These solutions were driven by Device side owner of the business (Apple, Google, RIM and others) and the day AT&T “drank the poison pill” and let Apple have full control, set into motion a unique new mobile world order that changed the position of the Carriers. However, the caveat to these closed Application marketplaces has been the ability for discovery and marketability of Applications- a problem sorted out in the internet world with Google search
Today, many have seen HTML5 the next big hope in the future of the Application business. As most of the mobile browsers today house-Webkit (the open source mobile safari browser). The promise of an Application solution that can work from the browser across all the devices is an exciting possibility. This evolution is moving fast and it is being driven by Google and in my opinion part of the grand master plan for domination. Google has been using HTML5 to make a compelling case for device-specific views (the same website but mobile or online depending on the screen size. The strength in an Application world driven by HTML5 is that it lives by the same discovery guidelines of the internet and there is no question this is the strength of Google or the Online Market leaders.
Just this last week, was a big day for HTML5. Facebook made a big announcement around their initiatives for HTML5 Apps as part of their mobile framework. Since the launch of the iPhone and the iPad, all eyes have been on the HTML5 evolution vs. Flash as well as the development of mobile web apps vs. native apps. Even though there has been some time before the fragmentation settles, it looks like we are now at a turning point for a stronger evolution of HTML5 Apps in the ecosystem.
So is this the chance that Carriers are waiting for? AT&T seems to be pushing big for the evolution of HTML5 (Link to other article). DoCoMo did a great job over the last decade with building out a dedicated mobile web framework called “iMode” that had a separate parsing and billing mechanism for both official and non-official sites with Carrier billing. This type of structure would work with the HTML5 opportunity, giving strength in the Carriers ability to have an Application marketplace across all devices by pushing the requirements in the Handset manufacturer’s Browser. However, Facebook is embarking now on a similar strategy via the web and ubiquitous across all handsets. So if the carriers attempt to engage in this strategy, there is a strong opportunity for them across all of their own devices sold, but they will need to move fast and with some elements of differentiation. Google and Facebook are coming strong from economies of scale and extending their strong user base to mobile. The question remains whether an internet-based HTML5 Application marketplace run by Google, Facebook that crosses all carriers and handsets vs. one driven by a Carriers that only reaches just their family of handsets, going to be compelling enough for web developers? . Carriers may need to think out-of-box and build more mobile cross-channel media relationships ( such as the TV, Radio, Agency, News, Retail) to give them a potential content and commerce position tied to their existing strengths of billing, pre-packaging, location based services, mobile wallet and point-of-sale marketing awareness.
( Some reference Articles)
InfoWorld May 11, 2011- HTML5 not yet solving the Mobile Dev problem
IntoMobile June 18, 2011- AT&T creates a HTML5 dev center in Israel
Wallstreet Journal Jan 5, 2011- AT&T plans to create the most advanced HTML5 toolkit