Whatever happened in the war to make everything a web-application? Are browsers on mobile devices so sub-standard they don't fully support what we loosely call HTML5? The future was supposed to be web-applications... and that was supposed to make developers lives easier. But it seems the reality has become multiple APIs/platforms with developers having to either pick one or more and build/maintain them. Ouch?
Some analysis of various apps in apps stores shows that the vast majority of them (75% or more) are almost never downloaded/purchased and just gather digital dust... and that the vast majority of mobile app purchases go to a mob of 25 development houses. I also have to wonder if the bulk of apps that are available are just front-end for web-based services that could easily be accessed from a competent web browsers... and that the app icon is mostly for marketing. Thoughts?
While Android does have a slight majority of the mobile marketshare... given the rapid refresh rate of mobile devices (a smartphone average replacement cycle is 11 months)... I don't think Android is necessarily cemented into the mobile fabric... and almost anyone with enough resources could take the Linux underpinnings and slap a graphical shell on top. They'd just have to get handset makers and wireless providers to buy in. So I think the real challenges aren't necessarily technical in nature.
I just don't see the "innovation" that supposedly exists in the crop of mobile OSes we have today. They all remind me of Microsoft Windows 3.1's Program Manager with touch. What does an OS have to do? Provide a display that is touchable and forgiving of sloppy fingers... provide a program launcher... and a way to shop for applications. Yeah, I'm oversimplifying it but really... is how notifications are done offer that much room for innovation?
I'd prefer to see most everything a web-app... with application icons really just browser bookmarks... and of course it would be nice if the web-based applications were locally cacheable and usable without a connection... and offer the ability to sync back when a data connection is available. You know... it should operate like Chrome OS. :) While Chrome OS doesn't seem to have made any inroads in replacing traditional desktops and laptops... perhaps if they put it on tablets and smartphones they could get more traction.
Eventually smartphones are going to be powerful enough where we can plug them in to a docking station for complete PC usability when we have arrived at our destination... and still use them somewhat productively when they aren't docked. That will mean the OS has to offer both a good desktop and mobile experience. I guess a few people are working on that... but I don't really see iOS and Android morphing into a good desktop anytime soon. I'm guessing people disagree with me, eh?