I’ve railed here against mobile apps that should be mobile web sites. One of my favorite examples is IMDB but there are a ton of them. After all, all it is doing is grabbing web site data and downloading it to the local app anyway. It’s useless without a web connection.
But then the Facebook incident at ReadWriteWeb happened. To refresh your memory, a whole mess of people tried to log into a ReadWriteWeb article on the changes made to Facebook Login page.
All of a sudden I can’t help but wonder if I have it all wrong. Maybe the browser is confusing and its the presence of apps — little icons that live on a home screen — that really makes this easy. Maybe the rise of website-as-application is critical for mainstream adoption of mobile devices. After all, an iPhone app is a lot more fool-proof than a mobile website. (Of course, we can save icons to the home screen but that takes some technical knowledge also.)
If the iPad is the device for my grandmother to use, than should I expect my grandmother to understand how a web browser works and what addresses are? Or does it make more sense for those things to be applications that sit on the desk?
Google did an interesting study, asking what a browser is. Turns out, very few actually know, which might be the greatest reason yet why people are taking to apps like a fly to honey.