Mobile (App) Development: Android’s Missed Opportunity?

The post on the USV blog about the challenge of creating native mobile apps (meaning ones that can on exist on the mobile platform) has created a lively discussion with by now over 60 comments.  A good chunk of that discussion was about the relative merits of just sticking with the mobile browser versus developing apps.  For instance, Fred observes:

I’m a big fan of the mobile browser too but it does seem like the prevailing delivery package today is the mobile app, not the browser.

That and a conversation yesterday at lunch got me thinking: Why doesn’t Android make the browser an equal citizen for app development?  All that would be needed are some Javascript extensions to give access to the phone capabilities, in particular location, the camera, making calls and cross-app communication (including access to built-in apps such as the address book).

I have in the past written that this would be the best (possibly only) way to beat the iPhone and had been hopeful for the Palm Pre.  But all along in those posts I missed the bigger question.  Why isn’t Google pushing the HTML5/Javascript model for Android?  After all, Google is demonstrating what can be done with Javascript in its mobile version of gmail and I even posted about how that was a good thing for the Pre.  Google is also really showing off the capabilities of HTML5 with Wave.

So does anyone know why Google would not completely embrace Javascript/HTML5 as the app delivery model for Android and pioneer any missing capabilities (such as camera access)?

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Posted: 1st July 2009Comments
Tags:  Google iPhone android HTML 5 JavaScript

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