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Web creators seek an appy medium

Like another pivotal event in human history, it all started with an Apple.

Like another pivotal event in human history, it all started with an Apple.

Apple’s popular smartphone has led to a boom in mobile apps, with the iPhone’s app store alone boasting more than 300,000 of the small software programs. Rival phone makers have done the same, with Android, BlackBerry and others creating their own app stores.

But tech watchers say the app as we know it is headed for a fall, as mobile content moves away from proprietary programs and back on to the web, where it can be viewed by anyone on almost any device.

The problem is compatibility: Mobile apps can’t be switched from one gadget to the next.

Companies need to make a separate one for each device they want to target.

Peter-Paul Koch, a mobile consultant in Amsterdam, says those problems can largely be solved by so-called “web apps.”

Web apps are essentially websites, but the latest web standards — known as HTML 5 — allow for a rich user experience that looks and feels like a traditional app.

“It has changed for the good,” Koch says. “People have started to see that HTML 5 apps are a good alternative to native apps.”

While it’s easy for a company to charge for an app sold through the iPhone or Android stores, developers are still experimenting with how to charge for web apps.

Koch says they will likely put a fee on content, rather than the apps themselves.

 
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