Mobile: Apps vs Mobile Web


I’ve been asked many times where I think the future in the smart phone market is, either applications or site designed for mobile web?  Now I think it’s funny that since I am in the IT field, I should know (or at least have thought on) the mobile market.  But since I try to answer the questions that come in, I’ve decided to write about my wholly unprofessional opinion.
The first thing that I would look at (if I was a company struggling with this decision), was what the market place currently looks like for the mobile market.  I’ve posted a grapgh below to show you what the market looks like:


What I see here, is that while there is no single competitor who hold the majority of the mobile market, is there are several big players.  If I wanted to design a mobile app for my users/customers/readers/etc, I would need to design for several different platforms to make sure that I didn’t keep out anyone who wanted to access my service.
This is where I see the strength in mobile web design.  I can design a website, that will work with almost all of these phones and not have to change it much from one application to another.  Now the problem here, is that you would need to use technology that is supported on all these platforms (i.e. avoid Adobe Flash).  I think that can be easily done, in comparison to making an app for IOS, and a version for android and a version for blackberry.
I’ve already seen some companies address this model of using a mobile site over an mobile app.  Some big companies though seem to be hedging their bets by having a mobile version and versions for IOS and android.  I know I’ve gone the way mobile web sites with this site (that I don’t know how to program for either Android or IOS)

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