My Photo

About Me

  • Hello you. I'm a 38-year old MSc student, studying Advanced Computer Science at Sussex University. I'm especially interested in Internet and mobile software, sensors and pervasive computing, user interfaces, and the process of developing great software.

    Before that I spent 11 years running Future Platforms, a software company I co-founded which makes lovely things for mobile phones, and which I sold in 2011.

    I read a lot, write here, and practice Aikido and airsoft. I live in Brighton, a seaside town on the south coast of the UK, with two cats and a clown.


Stalk Me

  • Email me:
    twhume at gmail dot com
Blog powered by Typepad

« Prepare The Cage For Jeff Patton | Main | Trutap and IM »

October 28, 2008



But this is like being amazed at how many people in the 90s got their software by peeling sticky CD-ROMs off the front of subsidised computing magazines. (Or from the ISPs who posted them through every letterbox in the western world).

And users (who still clung to the familiarity of CD-shaped and paper media) seemed perfectly happy with that.

Anyway, the web in the mid-90s just wasn't up to allowing the seamless and easy downloading of apps. Piecing together base-64 encoded messages from Usenet to get new screensavers?

Now we don't think twice about downloading an application from the web. Or, wait. Maybe we do! Because the web has evolved so much that everything's through the browser anyway. (Even Microsoft Office - one of the few CD-ROMs left in the rack)

Of course I know the nature of the apps and services will be very different on mobile from their non-mobile cousins.

But I have no reason to believe that the evolution of the delivery channel (and its economics) will turn out too differently in 5-10 years.

We're just in 1997, that's all.

Tom Hume

So James: do you think the use of native apps for the Google Android Marketplace, iPhone App Store and iTunes store, as opposed to web sites, is a temporary step towards their being web-based?

I find it strange and interesting that two companies who are so adept at using the web, and who have complete control over the platforms they're deploying to (iPhone and Android), choose not to produce these key revenue-generating applications using web technologies - at the same time as promoting web technologies themselves to their developer communities.

This doesn't mean that *everyone* can, should or will do the same of course - I'm not drawing any conclusions like "mobile web is dead, apps are the future" from it (though re-reading my original post I did veer in that direction - whoops).


I wonder whether it's all about the infamous kill-switches.

The ability to disable a malevolent app would be harder if the original delivery medium had been a browser-initiated download, perhaps.

Personally I'm not shocked or upset by kill-switches (wouldn't you do the same, if you made phones or ran networks?) - but it's certainly telco-thinking applied to a web context.

(NB you need a 'notify me of further comments' feature ;-) )


Apple have both web app and native app download centres, but as you say, the native application is proving to be a runaway winner....I wonder whether Google will also release a dedicated web app store to complement their Android market place ?

The comments to this entry are closed.