The age of the mobile web is here

This is it. If there was any doubt the future of handheld devices was the mobile web, it should be laid to rest now. As a strategy for allowing 3rd party developers to write applications for the iPhone, Apple has embraced the mobile web. And they plan to support all the ‘Web 2.0’ standards – which is just another way of saying that the mobile browser’s DOM will be predictable, and that Javascript will work as expected. Why won’t it, after all, the ‘mobile’ browser is a full-fledged desktop version!

If any of you have ever tried to develop mobile web-apps that used AJAX (esp. through the use of the popular AJAX libraries for the purpose – Prototype/Scriptaculous or Dojo), you know what I’m talking about. None of the mobile browsers really work well at all. They are all broken in some way or the other – and to add to the fun, they’re broken in different ways.

So – how is Apple going to fix the issue? By side-stepping the mobile browser entirely. Just take a desktop browser and make it available on the mobile. Perfect! And this is Apple’s official strategy for externally developed applications! So the critical mass is ready to happen…

And this will also see the beginning of the end of the walled-gardens of the carriers. If they don’t own the access to mobile applications, then they can’t control it. The reason they do control it, is that for the most part, no one wants to download and install things on their phone. Either they’re not technical enough, or things break after you install the wrong or badly developed application. So most people just use whatever is ‘on-deck’. And those applications are completely controlled by the carriers. No more! If the mobile web becomes popular, that’s the end of that!

Yet another way the iPhone will change the world.